I had an idea for a TV show the other day. “New Zealand Hasn’t Got Talent”. A variety show filled with lame wannabes.
Joking aside, I sometimes get the impression that writing is viewed the same way. Anybody can write and the first book will whip you up to the limelight and multi-million dollar best sellers with titles like Fifty Shades of Talent Vacuum.
The reality? Yes, sure, one or two people do that. But most don’t. For most, it’s a lot of hard work for very little return.
Plus side of that is that those hard yards turn out good writers. Anybody who can last the distance – who constantly pushes the boundaries of quality, and who knows what direction they are going in, will get there in the end. Maybe not total fame and fortune, but then, who’s in it for that anyway? I’m not.
And for those who do turn into the celebrity de jour? Well, maybe some do have the talent and skills. But I do wonder. What they won’t have is the experience of actually hammering away at the field. And that does count.
To me, writing is more than flash-in-the-pan. It’s more than a fun pastime that happens to carry the promise of potential riches and fame. And I think people who write because they want the fame, or want the riches – well, they are writing for the wrong reasons.
I think true writers do it because they have to. Because they have an emotional journey to go on, and because they want to take readers on the journey. It is about practise, it is about learning, it is about a lot of hard work. And it’s harder still when you stir in that emotional journey. Hemingway summed it up. You sit down at the typewriter and bleed.
My take on it? Writing is five percent inspiration. The rest is brute force.
What do you figure?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2012