Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Offences

I'm twenty as of yesterday. Weird.

Anyway, I thought I'd return to my blog by writing about something I loathe. That is, the presumption of nearly anyone that they could write a book if they "just found the time"/"weren't so busy"/etc.

This is bothersome on a number of levels. I've tried writing. I'm doing it now. It's hard.

First, the assumption that, when given the time, anyone could write a book. I guess this always bugs me because essentially, it dismisses writing as a developed skill. It assumes that there is no particular skillset that need be acquired, that there are no innate gifts that one needs to write a truly compelling story, that if anyone were to apply themselves, they could write the next great _____ Epic (substituting _____ for one's genre of choice). Anyone who's read the attempted writings of more or less half of this generation's young authors knows that assumption to be bullshit. Half of the people who want to be writers, who practice at it daily, can't write worth a damn. Let alone those who just assume that if they really put themselves to it they'd shit out literary glory.

For anyone who doubts this claim, I recommend one read any number of stories from Fanfiction.net. Then, go to a local business and read any signs or notices printed up by the owner/employees, and count the grammatical errors. Bonus points for bastardized sentence structure.

The second part of the "I'm the next Tolkien" mindset that really pisses me off, is the phrase that, I am sure you have all heard before. It goes more or less like this: "I'd write a book if I wasn't so busy."

Pardon me, but the fuck do you think a writer's life is like? Patrick Rothfuss went from being a student to a professor during the writing of The Name of the Wind. Do you think that the University Faculty would've responded kindly if he cancelled a week's worth of classes to indulge in literary abandon? Do you think that J.K. Rowling, as a single mother, spent weeks reclining in a hammock whilst lazily penning down the pages of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, each appearing as they do in the final version?

Fuck. Off. There is no black hole of free time that writers draw from. There are no excuses made for writers who aren't yet published; mostly, they get scoffs and derision. The actual writers out there, the ones who are published, the ones you've read, your Martins and your Orwells, didn't fucking say to themselves "Oh, I'll write this summer . . . ."

Writers write now. They write when an idea takes them, when they need to, when they're up to their ass in work and study and family obligations. They do it because they have to. They do it because they're writers.

Everyone else is just bullshitting.



  1. You're undermining yourself by sounding like an elitist douche. 8|

    But you're mostly right. xD

    Amen, brother.

  2. Where's the gorram Like button on these things? Oh, wait, this isn't Facebook.

    DAMN! *fist shake*

  3. That would make a great widget....