I'm kind of fascinated by TED talks, as they are these esoteric nuggets of wisdom or (more often than not) psuedo-wisdom boiled down to eight to twelve minutes. But I would love to get that call.
Though I was never quite sure what I would talk about. Until a bit this weekend put things into focus.
See, in going to cons, I interact with prospective and aspiring writers. I think that's important, I'm all for it. Indeed, if you see me at a con and want to ask me questions about process or business of writing, I'm all for it. Buy me a drink* and let's do it.
But I've noticed a recurring trend that I would talk about, if given the chance.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAYING "I'M A WRITER" AND WRITING
It strikes me there are a lot of people out there who want to be a writer. More specifically, they want to have written a book and have it out there. They aren't interested in the process of writing or what it takes to sit down and actually write a book.They just want the book to already exist.
And, in a way, I get that. I get that there's a hurdle one has to overcome, where you are the entirety of a fandom of a property that only exists in your head-- you just want this thing to exist so other people can love it as much as you do. But before a thing can get to that point you have to sit in the chair** and do the work. Not just the writing, but the process of building the world***, defining the characters, and the nuts and bolts of storytelling.
Some people don't want to do the work, because they don't realize the work is part of the process. The process is invisible to the consumer. They just see the finished thing and say, "I want to have one of those!"
And that's a good place to start. But you have to realize it's not a snap-your-fingers-now-you've-won-the-lottery thing. It's a career of continuing to work.
Speaking of, I've got a manuscript to edit and another to finish. So I'm off to the word mines.
*- The drink is entirely optional. You don't have to ply me with liquor to get advice. But I certainly wouldn't mind it.
**- Or stand at your standing desk, walk on your treamill desk, etc.
***- This is a thing you have to do even if your writing a book that's, say Chicago-but-with-vampires. You might know Chicago perfectly because you've lived there your whole life, but the rules of the world of your book needs to be more than "and there are vampires here". The inherent flaws of lazy worldbuilding will show through.
Process is everything. The craft is everything, the mechanism by which the raw idea becomes a story.
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