There’s always been this romantic allure to the arts. To writing. To movies. To painting. And the ones who feel it the most are artists.
This probably comes as a surprise to most people.
Artists feel that allure and lean on it because the work itself is so tedious.
As proud as I am when I finish a novel, and as much as I love to rework the second and third draft and be delighted by my creation, there is nothing glamorous about writing. It is about clauses and sentences and structure that work well together. It’s about character and motivation and cutting dialogue that’s fun but doesn’t add to the story. It’s about efficiency and theme and cutting passages (and characters) you love to make the work better. It is endless, exhausting and extraordinarily frustrating.
This is the life.
I’ve just started sending out my query letter (hook and pitch) for Afraid of the Dead. Writers run their own business but generally tend to be bad businessmen/ businesswomen. It’s the toughest part of the gig. Well, that and dealing with the subjective nature of the industry, and the fact that you need a bit of luck, even after you’ve written something good.
Despite these constraints, I am convinced that more than ever we need people to pick up the pen (or the laptop) and create. To delve deep in a society that seems to insist on becoming more shallow. More political. More divided.
We need the empathy of those willing to walk in other people’s shoes, even if they don’t become the next Tom Clancy or Stephen King.
It’s not about the money. It’s about the life, and what it does. What creation does. What art means.
I can’t promise you a life of riches or a suitcase full of money, but as I tell my kids in my Creative Writing courses, I can promise you something better.
The chance to enrich yourself, and in so doing, enrich the world.
That’s the life. And that’s why it matters.