From the “I’m Feeling Churlish Department” . . .
Back when I was consistently hawking my wares at book festivals and the like, some well-meaning soul would invariably saunter up to my table and inform me that he or she intended to “write a book as soon as I find the time.” I’d look the person in the eye, smile and say in my most pseudo-sincere voice, “Good for you.”
As if 1) they’ll ever find the time and 2) time is all you need. (Everyone knows that love is all you need.) I’ve read plenty of manuscripts where writers have found the time, and I can assure you they also need to find other things. Like talent.
Here’s the problem. The best writers make it look easy. Effortless even. The reader never sees all the hard work that goes on behind the curtain. Or the countless hours that go into perfecting one’s craft, of arriving at the point of deceptive ease. I can’t think of another endeavor in which so many folks believe they can just do it. Certainly not sports. Or music (“American Idol” auditions notwithstanding.) Maybe it’s because 99.9% of us learn how to put sentences together in school. Which isn’t the same as writing. Don’t believe me? Let me send you a couple hundred random emails from my inbox. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cogent string of thoughts in the bunch.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I’m feeling better already. Plus, I got to use “churlish” in a sentence. A good day all around.