imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Saturday, January 07, 2006
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE WRITER
Some people become writers for the fame'n'acclaim, but I've always wanted to write so I wouldn't have to wait on people. I pictured myself cooped up in a room -- a turret, actually, with a commanding view -- my own boss, writing what I wanted to write, with a big ol' scribbled sign on the door warning others to KEEP THE "F" AWAY! ('cept I'd spell it out:). Lonely? More like solitude; I'd socialize when I damned well pleased. However, there was always that niggling thing about living expen$e$ ... $iiiiiigh
A novel in a year
The acclaimed novelist Louise Doughty here introduces a unique new column teaching the art of fiction
For those of us who come from decidedly non-literary backgrounds, there is something wonderful about being a writer - all the shallow stuff we are supposed to despise; the café talk, the book launches, the scanning of literary pages feeling guiltily gratified when a friend gets a bad review. Forget for a moment the loneliness, paranoia and financial insecurity, Being a Writer is great fun.
But there is a catch. You have to write.
[I]f you follow the column, and do the exercises I set (yes, exercises) what you will end up with will not be a novel, it won't even be the first draft of a novel, it will be a body of work, the raw material, which you may one day be able to shape and work on until it becomes a book.
Your novel will take you as long as it takes you - but I'm going to stick my neck out and say that if you haven't written a book before and are really serious about it and have a job or a family or - heaven forbid - both, then you are looking at around three years from start to finish.
This first year is just the taster, the generating-material-and-having-a-go year. At the end of it, you will have a huge amount of work remaining. Still interested?