Friday, August 27, 2010

Cast the Bones

"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it."
~Harlan Ellison




Hmmm...casting the bones could be fun, but my house doesn't have an attic. I wonder if doing it from the basement at midnight would work - what do you think? Worth a try?

I love this quote. I think it's true that people have some sort of romanticized vision of what "being a writer" means. At a school district conference recently, I overheard a woman telling her friend she was planning to write a picture book this year. "After all," she said, "I've taught elementary school for years, so it should be pretty easy." Um...yeah... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Don't we all WISH it was that easy?! We work. Hard. And that's all there is to it. Well, that and a lot of effort and frustration and hope and patience and perseverance and encouragement - and that's just to finish a book, let alone get it published.

Do you know people who romanticize the hard work of writing?

33 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Sure, as I'm sure many others know people who think writing is like chewing gum. School starts for my kids next week, but I've been at a soccer field this past week. I had a mother say to me, "Oh, I heard you're an author." Before I could respond with the--Um...yeah, that's what I'm trying to be, and talk about my efforts--she started jabbering on about a friend she knows who's writing. Most of her terminology was way off, and she surely didn't have a clue how much work, dedication, and perseverance it takes.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Tell me about it. The number of people who think they can write, because they think they are write is amazing. I am almost tempted to tell them to get writing in that case. But they always have a plausible reason not to.

Diane said...

My own brain used to think those thoughts and now I am facing reality a lot more! :O)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Fortunately I knew what I was getting into when I started writing. And that was before I started to learn about the industry. Maybe that's because I was delusional when I became a drug rep (not one anymore). By the time I started writing, I was wiser. ;)

Aubrie said...

Oh yes, my family thinks it's all fun and no work.

Laura Marcella said...

See my blog post today–quite a few writers worked from basements!

I love it when people think writing for children is easy peasy. It gives me a nice long laugh! Insightful quote by Ursula K. LeGuin: "Sure, it's simple, writing for kids...Just as simple as bringing them up."

I suppose we have film and television to blame for making writing look so easy.

Have a great weekend, Shannon!

Jemi Fraser said...

Like many other writers, I've written on and off for years - but always for me and always for fun.

Writing in the hopes of publishing is a whole 'nother story - it is incredibly difficult!!!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I can write for fun- I did it for years with no thoughts on getting published. But now it's a whole new arena.

Oh yeah... I've definitely got Hunger Games on my mind. I stayed up waaaaay too late reading Mockingjay last night and now I have to go teach. Oops!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I write for fun too, well I try to, but getting it pusblished is hard. :)

My non-writer friends think the first draft is the finished product sometimes. I've started to train them now though. lol.

Jennie Englund said...

This is so silly, but when I finished my first story a couple of years ago, I thought it would be automatically published.

Mmmm.... don't you wish???

Mary Aalgaard said...

I think most non-writers think writers are crazy work through the dark people. They think it comes easy to us and when we publish a book we'll be millionaires.

Nisa said...

It's more than just writing. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? Haha! Not so much. "Anything worth doing is worth doing well."

What a great post to come back to. I hope you've had a fantastic summer!

Michelle Gregory said...

i was one of those who romanticized it. now i know better. if you knew what you know now, would you ask to be a writer or would you say, "No way! i'm not doing *that.*"??

Hannah Kincade said...

I try my best to romanticize it to make it easier to sit my butt down and write.

Elana Johnson said...

Holy brown cows, that is the best quote I've read in a long long time. I have people ask me all the time how I wrote a book.

I want to tell them it took hundreds of hours and tears and life from my body. I smile and say, "I work hard."

Angie said...

It's definitely a lot of hard work. I used to think that I wanted to write, but maybe it would be easier to write children's books. Ha!

Tere Kirkland said...

I love this quote, too, Shannon. But to me, it sometimes does feel like a combination of hard work and magic. Mostly hard work, though. ;)

Tere Kirkland said...

I love this quote, too, Shannon. But to me, it sometimes does feel like a combination of hard work and magic. Mostly hard work, though. ;)

Amanda Sablan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Sablan said...

But romanticizing writing is fun! It makes us look glamorous when we're really not (because what's glamorous about sitting hunched over your keyboard for hours in pajamas with your hair all messed up?).

Raquel Byrnes said...

Yeah, someone told me it looked pretty easy to daydream on paper. Uh..no. Planning, blocking, research...not easy, but worth EVERY minute.

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Stephanie said...

From time to time, I hear people say they want to write a book....I just think to myself, "Good luck...not as easy as it looks!"

Is it wrong to like the fact that people look at me and my career as glamorous?? Yes, it is a lot of work and most people don't get that AT ALL.....but when I show them my product....I see awe in their eyes and I like it. :)

A writer friend of mine once told me I am the perfect romance writer because I dress nice and I look fabulous and I am what a romance writer is supposed to look like. She says that when I start doing book signings and readings, I am exactly what people expect/want to see! I hope she's right!! :)

Alexia561 said...

Wait....there's no casting of the bones? Another burst bubble. *L*

I know that I was surprised to discover that published authors still couldn't quit their day jobs. I thought once published, it was smooth sailing. Well, smoother sailing... ;)

Jonathon Arntson said...

I know a million ppl who romanticize the the work of writing, but I also know writers with unrealistic deadlines. Unless you're James Patterson, more than one book per year is too much to ask of yourself.

Shannon, you do such a great job or interpreting these quotes. I am very bad with quotes, what's your secret? Do you share quotes with your students too?

Patti Lacy said...

Can't it be BOTH romantic and hard work? One of the mysteries of life???


Blessings,
Patti

Catherine A. Winn said...

Ahhh, to be that naive. I remember those days before reality hit. They were nice.

Tracy said...

That's a fantastic quote. I think casting bones in the attic sounds like a lot more fun than sitting for hours getting a numb bum while talking to yourself and trying to make your words fit together in a coherent manner that someone will (hopefully) pay money to read!

Enter my blog contest to win The Hunger Games Trilogy here!

Lenny said...

hi miss shannon! sounds like just cause someone know how to write they think writing is easy. for me i know it takes lots of time and even when you get books published you still gotta spend lots of time on the next one. its pretty hard being a good writer and you gotta learn a lot and be at it lots of hours.
...smiles from lenny

storyqueen said...

Actually, writing is in some ways easier than people think....BIC HOK TAM. You just have to commit to putting the words on the page.

It is that commitment that I think people have a hard time with.

Great quote.

Shelley

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Awesome quote!

Most people think writing is easy because everyone can write. But saying that anyone can write a story if they just commit to doing it, is like saying a surgeon can operate without schooling. An author studies the craft, works hard learning the many layers of writing, and yes, they commit to writing good stories. Not just one, but story after story. Writing isn't a hobby or just fun. Writing is a passion for an author that makes them feel complete.

Anyway, that's how I look at it in my humble opinion. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

When I tell folks I've written a book they always almost say, "I think I'll write one too." I reply, " I hoped you would say that." When they sit down to do it, most will give up. It isn't easy peasy street. Sheesh.

BFF, I have been praying for your friend and her family. And will continue to. For a long time to come.

Robyn Campbell said...

Okay, I meant they almost always say. Yikes, I hope I copy edited the book better than that.

Robyn Campbell said...

I'm baaaccck! Just like a bad dream.

Anyway, do you know about pblitchat? Thought I would mention it. It's a place for picture book talk. Sunday nights. I knows youze gots to go to school, but thought it might not be your bedtime yet. Are you on Mountain time? I'm east coast. It is at 9:30 PM for me. So that puts it at, hmmm, 8:30 for you? Heck! I just dunno. Here's the link: Picture books only

You might already know about this. Hope you are doing good.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...