Chapters speech on writing
Most people either have written a book, are planning to write a book or think they should write a book. Writing appeals to the place where our hearts beat, our hopes soar and we travel farther than we would have ever thought possible. Writing is about simplicity, in a time of increasing complexity. It is all about living life with passion, becoming passionate about what you do. A writer breathes passion for her writing.
Writing is a vocation of contrasts. It is both lonely and companionable, such as when you unplug all the phones, because you have achieved that wonderful state of flow, merged with your characters, and you are unwilling to allow any intrusions into this bonding.
Writing is both the easiest and most difficult thing to do, as you let the pen glide effortlessly across the page or struggle with an unwieldy piece of the plot.
It shows you your weaknesses, such as when you become jealous of Julia Cameron, or it can show you your strengths, such as perseverance.
Writing is at least nine-tenths perseverance, if not more.
It is very nourishing, spiritual food.
You do not take vacations or sick days. You get up while your children still sleep, so you can write. You set the alarm an hour and a half earlier than you need to, so you can write before you have to get ready for work. You creep out of bed in the middle of the night, to write, unwilling to waste a minute of awake time, just lying there. You tell your company that you’re going to the washroom, and then dash into your computer room instead, working feverishly to get down a few thoughts.
You know both elation and despair. You dream about writing. You want to paint what you have written, or write a musical score about it, so you can experience it through another medium.
Inspiration comes from painting, landscape, all of the senses. You are easily moved.
Writing turns you into a lifelong student.
This is one of the things that I cherish about
writing. I am constantly learning about new places
and areas of life, as I situate my characters.
This was very much the case, as I researched Japan, prior to writing Teacher on the Run. It was also the case as I wrote the section of Rain, which takes place in the Beaches area of Toronto, only this time; I had the luxury of actually going there.
Writing is an exercise in self-indulgence – you can live out your fantasies, that way, and it is also an exercise in self-discipline. There is nobody who expects you to show up at work, but you. You become the harshest taskmaster, requiring yourself to hunch over the keyboard, even when the summer sun and sounds pouring in through the window make you want to flee that stuffy computer room and run outdoors.
But writing brings it all to light, anyway.
As Emily said in Rain: Writing is like slow dancing, with your Soul.