Sunday, August 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

Anyone who has even ventured a foot into the world of writing has heard some of the misconceptions about writers and writing. Hollywood does everything it can to glamorize writing as a profession and the uninformed masses don't know the difference.

Oh, but one can dream, right? If I had the Hollywood version, my book would have sold last September for millions of dollars, film producers would have been lined up around the block to make my masterpiece into a film, my publisher would have launched a book tour in 40 cities/5 different countries (of course, all of this would happen in a matter of week, because in fantasy land, it only takes a couple of weeks to get a book from purchased to printed). Best of all, I would have retired with my vast fortune to a private island in the south Pacific where my personal cabana boy (who bears a huge resemblance to Paul Walker) would serve me frosted drinks and chocolate covered strawberries while I lay on my beach and penned my next work of art. (In the fantasy, I get to be thin and my boobs are back up where they were before I turned 34 - but that's neither here nor there.

What a dream! What a joke!

If that were the real story of writing, RWA would have to hold National in the Grand Canyon - it would be the only place large enough to house all those who would want to attend.

The reality of writing is that it's work. It's a lot of work! It's a lot of repetitious, tiring, thankless, mind-bending work.

Some of my friends are the fortunate kind of writers - they actually enjoy the writing process itself. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I fall under the "I don't enjoy writing, I enjoy having written" rule. I don't know who said it, but they were a genius.

Writing to me is like ripping open my heart, soul and mind and forcing them together, then yanking them apart, then making it all come together in the end. It is the hardest thing I've ever done and it continues to be book after book. Because the reality is, the better you become, the harder you have to work to outdo what you just did. And that's what your audience demands.

So why do it, you ask? A valid question, I suppose, for those who don't understand. But for other writers, you already know the answer - because there's no other choice.

You see, the most perfect moment in the world for me is not when I'm sweating bullets over a rough draft, searching desperately for that funny line that keeps escaping me. The moment of perfection is when I'm done with that rough draft and go back for that first read-through. Then a single line of text - maybe a description, maybe a line of dialogue - makes me smile, or laugh or tugs at my heart bringing tears to my eyes. And that's when I realize that for just a moment, my mind connected with brilliance and got just a sliver of it down on the page.

Why wouldn't I want all the heartache of writing, when I have all that joy awaiting me at the end?


Tori Lennox said...

I just laugh hysterically whenever I see writers portrayed on TV.

(But, yes, Paul Walker would make quite a dishy cabana boy...)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Tori - there's always the dream...........the cabana boy dream, that is. :)

Cindy Taylor said...

Love the quote.

Ah, a come to Jesus about writing. I don't even have the desire to explain myself anymore. And as far as it getting harder the better you get, I had no idea moving a few scenes around would be involved. Revisions Hell has taken an another new meaning.

Tammy Kearly said...

A-MEN sister!!

Cari Manderscheid said...

Great blog today, Jana! It was both entertaining and inspiring!

And Paul Walker could be my cabana boy, anyday.

Jana DeLeon said...

Good Lord - all this work I have to do and it looks like I'm going to have to scrap over Paul Walker too. :)

Hi Cindy, Tammy and Cari - Things certainly don't get any easier, right? But hey, it's all expanding my mind. Well, and my rear.

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