January 9, 2013

writing: "considerably less magic" (more work)

This is exactly, exactly how I feel about writing in the morning.  I almost never have the chance to do this anymore, and I certainly can't afford to get too precious about when or how I get my writing done, but whenever I have a day off, this is what I like to do.  No conversation, no jarring interaction with the world outside my head. There is definitely a spell that can be broken in travelling from that liminal dreaming space to the wide awake world of other people.

A conversation between George Saunders and his editor on Slate that seems to me to be a great illustration of how the best editor-writer relationships can work, as well as a pretty fascinating peek at how a Saunders story comes together (including showing his editor all the edited-down cut parts). 

An interview with Zadie Smith on the Rumpus, which is partially a follow-up to her amazing short piece on joy in the NYRB.  (In her interview with the Rumpus, she mentions she only writes short, memoir-like pieces like this about once every ten years, so it's worth checking out.)

Some remarks from the Rumpus interview that struck a chord:
"I think constant feedback is not a very healthy thing for a writer, one way or another." 
 "...reading is a magic thing. But writing, I actually feel, is considerably less magic. It’s a lot of work and a lot of daily grind, where reading is a true pleasure."
I guess that makes a novel a sleight-of-hand that only takes 5-7 years to master..?

No comments: