Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day -37 and counting

I read a quote today made my Ursula K LeGuin that made me go look her up. The quote was this:
"The creative adult is the child who has survived."

I think this is part of my deal lately and why I've been whining. I haven't been allowing my inner child out to play much lately. There were a couple of days there where I let it go and let my inner child just say what she wanted to but then the editor in me had to go to work and put the child away to play quietly in the shadows while the adult editor got to work. This whole thought process got me to wondering more about this woman.

I googled her. I found that she is an author of more than 3 dozen books. She was awarded the Newbery Honor for the second Volume of Earthsea Cycle, The Tombs of Atuan. Among her many other distinctions are the Margaret A Edwards Award, a National Book Award and five Nebula Awards.

Her work includes six volumes of poetry, twenty novels, over 100 short stories, four collections of essays, eleven books for children and four volumes of translation. She calls Portland, Oregon--home.

I read an interview about her at where she was describing her views on writing and the part of the interview that really impressed me was when she said:

"I have never heard a dancer asking for advice about how to stay focused on her footwork, or a painter complaining about the dull day-to-day task of painting. What task worth doing isn't worth daily effort? Do you think Michelangelo was having fun the whole time he was on his back painting the Sistine Chapel's ceiling?

What is it with writers, anyhow? If you've done it long enough to have some skill, the making of any art or craft gives you continuous satisfaction. But the satisfaction is seldom a thrilling or instant reward. There is rarely a moment of "Ooh wow, look, I just created a masterpiece!"

I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you're writing. And, if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn't flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work. Nobody ever said it was easy. What they said is: "Life is short, art is long.""

I read this and I know that writing is what I need to be doing and I realize too that it's not for everyone. I've seen people who've written here on the internet and couldn't put two coherent words together. I've read others who when they didn't make instant big money on the articles that they wrote, they left whining blaming the site for their inadequacies. The truth is writing is work and we owe ourselves and our writing the time it takes to pay our dues.

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