Writing: Why do we do it to ourselves?

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I once asked a senior teaching colleague why he smoked a pipe. He thought for a moment, and then said, ‘I suppose it is because I don`t like not smoking a pipe.’

I find writing is like that. After yet another failure, you want to swear, weep, gnash your teeth, crawl away and die, or hurl everything you have ever written into an incinerator.Of course you don’t. You are lying bed the next morning, and say to yourself, ‘Suppose I tackle it this way?’ or ‘What about trying a reversal of the plot?’ or ‘You must work harder on your approach to agents’, or whatever. And away you go – en route for the next rejection.
Have I had any successes? Yes. Fourteen published books. But also my fair share of rejections.
In how many other activities would the practitioners be willing to carry on with a projected success rate of less than three per cent? No matter how hard you tried.
Ask any practising actor, dancer, or poet what advice they had for beginners. It would be the same: ‘Don’t.’

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