Thursday, December 23, 2010

How hard is it to write?

Writing can sometimes be very difficult. How's that for an understatement? But how hard, or easy, is it meant to be?

Here are three very different reports from the coal face of the writing industry:

1) In Slate magazine Garrison Keillor tells writers it's easy, so stop moaning:
"The fact of the matter is that the people who struggle most with writing are drunks. They get hammered at night and in the morning their heads are full of pain and adverbs. Writing is hard for them, but so would golf be, or planting alfalfa, or assembling parts in a factory."
2) While over at Columbia Journalism Review Robert Boynton interviews the painfully unproductive Gay Talese and reports how:
"Displaying equal parts pride and self-loathing, Talese reports he wrote barely fifty-four-and-a-half typed pages between 1995 and 1999."
3) Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Orhan Pamuk reflects on the joys of putting words on paper:
"If you leave aside sensual pleasures, sexual pleasures, good food, good sleep, and so on, then the happiest thing is that I have written two and a half, three good pages. I am almost assured that they are, but I need confirmation. My girlfriend comes, we are happy, I read to her, she says, 'This is wonderful' - that's it! That's the greatest happiness."

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