Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dirty work, but somebody has to do it

I'm one of those writers who does a lot of it my head, often late at night while I'm trying to go to sleep. As I toss and turn, I craft ingenious plots and dazzling metaphors -- really great stuff.

The only problem is that my head is not a leak-proof vessel. Most of the time, I stumble out of bed the next morning to find that my great ideas have largely disappeared. What was effervescent champagne the night before is now sticky residue at the bottom of a smeared glass.

Which usually drives home the point that if I want to have written, I have to -- well, write. It's not enough just to think about it. This is a serious downside to being a writer. It's so much easier to soar away on the wings of imagination if one isn't tethered to a keyboard. And it's very easy to put off the unpleasantness of coughing words out one by one if you've managed to convince yourself that your great ideas will one day write themselves if only given enough time to bloom.

You'd think a computer would make the process easier, but I've found the opposite is true -- particular in the age of broadband. Yes, the Internet is a godsend by enabling instant expertise on any subject (I use it a lot for gun lore, for example), but it's also a scantily-clad siren tempting would-be mariners far off course. What begins as a sincere quest to learn the magazine capacity of a .44 caliber Desert Eagle pistol too easily ends up as a wasted hour viewing L.L. Bean's fall line or YouTube videos of pet tricks.

I mention all this to acknowledge that however easy it is to nitpick the work of other writers, they all deserve praise for the difficult and frequently heroic act of getting the words out of their heads and onto the page.

1 comment:

Peter said...

For seeing through to the end an endeavor most of us only dream about ... all praise for the effort!
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"