I’m going to make a confession: I don’t know how to write. If I did, I would be published. Er, right? OK maybe it’s not that simplistic, but I do struggle. I read an article earlier called, “Why I hate the myth of the suffering artist” (by AL Kennedy). The author mentions a conversation with a film producer who flatly stated that artists need to suffer in order to be productive: “[…] the producer told me all about how necessary it was that creative people of every type should have as awful a time as possible. […] he was convinced: if you weren’t hurting, you couldn’t be working.”
This of course is utter bullshit. And yet it’s kinda interesting in another way: every once in awhile, someone will say to me that s/he never realized how hard writing could be, but that it makes sense that it would be so hard. This article made me wonder: do I portray myself as a suffering artist? God, I hope not. I mean, writing can be so very hard to do – the creating of characters, dialogues, worlds, and then piecing them all together in a coherent and engaging story. But then when everything clicks, you find that all your hard work led to one, single perfect shining moment… Or more, if you’re lucky. But see I don’t think that that’s what this producer is talking about. Keep reading the article and I’m sure of it. What this producer – and others like him – are talking about, is that you can’t be happy in your life and produce great art at the same time. Do I need to use the bullshit word again?
There’s a big difference in being miserable in your life in order to create art, and in pushing yourself through the hard moments of creating in order to reach the heights of your craft, while still living your life – happy, unhappy, whatever.
I’ve been unhappy with my writing the last few days, but I’ve been very happy in my life and I know that the writing will soon resolve itself. Mary Oliver said, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? My answer is to live my life as fully – and as happily – as possible knowing that what needs to get into my work will find its way there without me having to be miserable first. On that note, I’m off to bed.
Oh but PS first: Last night, I figured out where my characters are going on their way through this abandoned tunnel. Now it’s just my MC who doesn’t know…