I think that Stephen King is a good author-ly voice to heed. He certainly knows how it’s done–he can buy all the groceries he wants, now! In fact, I think he’s hit the nail on the head. The nail is the problem, of course. And King might have been defining success, but I believe he’s actually defining the issue many aspiring “writers” face: bein’ considered legit. Street credit, if you follow.
And now we live in a world where everyone is vying for your attention, we’re bombarded by stimuli, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a literary reaction to this. Not that it would get anyone’s attention, it might just die in a corner somewhere.
I’m the kind of writer who joyfully overestimates his own ability every time I sit down to type. And I’m sure I’m not the only one… I smile, pull open my laptop, look at the pages before me and think, “finish editing the whole book today? hell yeah!” One paragraph later: “finish the whole chapter today? Of course!” Thirty minutes and a few sentences later: “finish the paragraph today? OBVIOUSLY!” And then I get three sentences done. But even that doesn’t diminish the feeling I get when I start working. I…
I struggle against the concept of permanent failure, probably because failure to me always means coming back and trying again in a different way. Failure is impetus for harder work, and certainly isn’t permanent. If anything, failure is transitory.
If you shuffle a regular deck of 52 playing cards, statistically, you’ve just created something completely original. Something that the universe has never seen.
Brilliance is an interesting thing to define. What some folks consider brilliant, others scoff at, and vice versa. It’s a subjective world, but it’s the world in which we live. The problem lies in the ease (for most) of reading, as opposed to the ease of writing.
Even if your prose would make McCarthy cry with jealousy, your book will not see the light of day without a well-crafted query.
This is why it’s easy to dismiss writing as “creative fun” rather than “work”. If someone were to take a peek at me during the percolation stage, they’d have reason to think I was joking around about being an author. I mean, look! He’s just staring at the screen, drooling and drinking a never-ending tumbler of iced coffee…
We hold expectations of ourselves that we import from stuff like TV, conversations, role models and the like. And if we think about them too long or too hard, we end up on our butts, too.
Here’s how it worked: I’d play through and etude, and 90% of it was okay, but then I’d get to that 10% where the shit would hit the fan. I avoided utter embarrassment by employing the musical equivalent of cursing under your breath so that your mother can’t hear you (which never fools anyone).