December 26, 2007

A Writer's Holiday...

The great Garrison Keillor has a funny little website called Writer's Almanac that I very much appreciate. You can get poetry and his little diatribes via email, and I always appreciate what he has to say about writing. When the holidays are over, some of us will be up against deadlines (Robin and Sara and maybe Mitali), and others of us will have to wade into revisions yet again (Me. Sigh). Writing is never just coming up with a great idea and sitting down. It's reading it out loud, it's refining and defining and sharpening and tightening. It's a lot of work... but it's truly one of the best jobs in the world.

"And when the book is done, which it will be, and it's in the bookstore, people ask, "How does it feel?" You say, "Great!" but that's not true. You feel relief, and disbelief, and a sort of sorrow that it's gone and what will you do with your life now? Also there is that long passage in the sixth chapter that you meant to rewrite and did not and now you know you should have. And there is that typo. The publisher sent you a copy of the book hot off the press and you opened it at random and there it is, the word "releif" - God showing you that no matter how hard you try, you still fall short. Humility comes with the territory.

Writers get obsessed with a project and lock the doors and sit and work at it, like animals in a leg trap trying to chew through the leg, which is not good strategy... "

The best thing to do right now, Mr. Keillor says, is go for a walk.
Okay, fine: walking in the mall counts, too.

Wishing all my writer friends a few more restful moments before the madness begins again.

1 comment:

Sara said...

As one who often worries away at a problem like an animal in a trap, I appreciated G.K.'s words. We writers really do need that break and perspective and laughter. "When in doubt, write something fun!" That's my new motto! ;)