Fancy Yourself a Writer?

Writing a book is an incredibly hard thing. I fancy myself a writer but I have never properly finished writing a book. Sure, I’ve written drafts, but it’s a mammoth task turning a draft into something that flows with the smooth syrupy confidence of authentic maple syrup over some self-assured pancakes.

I have read plenty of books and judged them mercilessly. Some books feel cheap to me and I can SEE the potential in them, the words leap out in broken shatters, begging to be re-strung, imploring the author to please re-dress them, as they tumble about their pages in clumsy clusters. Some books just need a good editor.

Then there are other books that lift my feet right off the ground. I find myself amazed and defeated all at once. I find myself nursing an ache that won’t go away. How do people put pen to paper and release such magnificent things? Worlds and vivid imagery and passionate characters with all the dimensions of a kaleidoscope.

As an example, I was reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and when I reached the end I felt despair when I realised that he had attempted to dumb his novel down, since it was written by his heroine, Briony. I opened the first page of Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and was floored by the ushering in of a leaden August sky by a biting wind that blew out July. The life in their words seethe and sizzle on the faded pages on which they were printed. And I don’t know how. 

So yes. Writing a book is a very difficult thing. And I am sure the people who wrote the ‘badly written’ books must have thought that their books were ‘well written’, else they would be ashamed to have them out in the world. So, that begs the question, HOW do you know your writing is ‘good enough’?


7 thoughts on “Fancy Yourself a Writer?

  1. I wish I knew the answer to that question, Lenora. I heard someone say once that there is no such thing as a perfectly written book. Not only is that true for the author, but reader tastes will have different ideas of what is considered read-worthy. So, I think, a book is “good enough” when writers have done their very best, taken no short cuts, poured over every word, taken the tedious time required, applied time-worn wisdom about the craft, and employed the feedback of professionals. I think that level of dedication is required to turn an average read into a written art form. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana, apologies for the late reply! Thank you for such insightful words. I am inclined to agree with you there, it’s all about doing your very best isn’t it. You can clearly see the ‘best’ that people have done in their work when you read a book that speaks to you. I hope you and your family are well 🙂

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  2. I’m very near to finishing my first complete draft of a novel. It’s not anything that people will study and exclaim over when it’s finished. No book club will ever select it as their book of the month. Some days, I think “why do I bother? Other days I think, “Damn, this is fun!” I think I just had something i needed to do and I’m doing it.

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    • I am so glad and pleased you have finished it! I remember reading your post on promising to do a thousand words a day. Congratulations! As for books clubs and popularity lists… I was speaking to my friend recently about the publishing industry and we both agreed that good books are hard to find, because the publishers like to promote and push things that ‘sell’, like popularity and fame and sex. So I am so happy you ‘bothered’, because you had something to say that was worth saying, and there will for sure be people out there who NEED to read it 😀 More than fifty shades of grey, at any rate, haha! I hope to see your novel published and I hope to read it one day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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