Besides being an author and blogger, I volunteer at the local library. One of my two sections covers all the books about writing. There is always a book or two that catch my eye while I am checking the Dewey decimals on each book ensuring they are in proper order. One day I ran across “Why We Write.” Twenty best selling authors telling you there tips, tricks, and secrets. (There are no secrets, for if you share, it is not a secret-but I digress.)
In the introduction, the editor of the book , Meredith Maran, quotes George Orwell’s four motives for writing. They are: Sheer egoism (to be talked about, remembered); Aesthetic enthusiasm (for the pleasure of sound and rhythm of what you wrote); Historical impulse (to see things as they are, find true facts); Political purposes (The opinion that art should have nothing do to with politics is itself a political attitude).
Writers are quirky. Isabel Allende begins every novel on January 8th. She begins with a ‘sort of an idea’ and the first four weeks are wasted. Eventually it begins to pull together. What we can take away is her perseverance. She doesn’t quit, she works her way through her process. So if you feel bogged down with your story remember Isabel and stay with it; persevere and you will feel great, having, in the end, worked out of the dense jungle you found yourself in.
David Baldacci says ” ‘Writing for your readers’ is a euphemism for ‘writing what you think people will buy.’ Don’t fall for it! Write for the person you know best: yourself.” Many writers have said this. Write your story for yourself first-it will turn out better. This has been said since Mark Twain, maybe earlier.
Jennifer Egan says not to worry about bad writing. “One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” She also says you must write on a regular basis, even 15 minutes a day, something to keep you in the habit.
Sue Grafton, with all her success, says “Most days when I sit down at my computer, I’m scared half out of my mind. I’m always convinced that my last book was my last book, that my career is at an end. . . ” She, like Allende, perseveres. Grafton gave my favorite quote, “There are no secrets and there are no shortcuts. As an aspiring writer, what you need to know is that learning to write is self-taught, and learning to write well takes years.”