Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Writer

The life of a professional writer is odd. Quite lonely. Requires a fierce dedication, like a concentrated flame – the hard blue option on the Bunsen burner, not the orange floaty flame.

You have to get yourself absolutely centred on your focus, eliminating all distraction, and keep it there. You have to come back to it, come back to it, come back to it, fasting from human society until it becomes alien to you and you no longer know how to do it or scarcely what it means.

You have to be able to mine deeper and deeper, finding every seam of thought and insight in your subconscious, making it give up everything it has – because every article, every devotional, every Bible study, every individual thing you write, comes from the germ of an original idea and those are what it is so very hard to come by.

You carve out the time you need and defend it against all comers, and lock into the focus, and bleed the subconscious until it is wrung dry.

And then it’s done, the work for today, and there you are bewildered – peevish and disoriented, cast up on the shore of a world become alien by virtue of its very normality, unable to settle to anything, appalled by being alive, as vacuous as a goldfish, as empty as fracked earth.


People say, ‘I want to be a writer,’ ask, ‘what do you have to do to be published?’ Oh, that’s easy! You have to eviscerate the living core of your soul and formulate it into words that can reconstruct its vital meaning, its tender, honest life. And then you offer it for sale. You make your deadline.

16 comments:

LANA said...

Well said. I have always admired people who can write their soul on paper for others to see and benefit from. I can only imagine the work and sacrifice that goes into it. Thank you for writing those wonderful books, among other things.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Marieke said...

I can't imagine being a writer. Can you please try to explain why writing is so important to you? Why do you dedicate so much of your precious life to finding the right words to express yourself?
Apart from your books being helpful or a joy to others writing must be an extremely essential necessity for you?

Pen Wilcock said...

Interesting question! I write because it is my means of interface with the human race - it is, as it were, the only thing I have to bring to the party. I come of an odd family, in which neurological and psychiatric challenges proliferate, and most of us (in my family) struggle to make our way in the world. I am unteachable, almost unemployable, highly introverted, HSP, and I experience life very extremely. I need to earn a living, and I feel a responsibility to Jesus to bear the torch of his Gospel in the world - to make some small kind of a difference. I think we came to Earth to develop kindness and compassion, and each have a responsibility to choose by which means we will go about that.
As I have grown older. my tendencies to reclusiveness and sensitivity have increased. I find it alarming and bewildering to participate in most group activities now. Also my mind is much preoccupied with the planetary emergency that is fast travelling towards us.
The three essentials - to make some kind of contribution that will increase wisdom and compassion on Earth in my day, to bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus, and to earn a living - are the imperatives under which I live and work, and the reason I am a writer. I write as the robin sings - because it's the only thing I can do.

Marieke said...

Dear Pen,

Thanks for explaining. The 'writer' post gave me the impression of a caged bird. A free spirit who made the choice of limiting herself beyond understanding.
I now understand what drives you and I hope that while writing you maximize your connection with the lord and be rather happy in your own unique habitat.
It feels a lot easier now to read your lovely blog. Might it please you for many more years!

Love, Marieke

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Anonymous said...

Thought this might be of interest to you...

http://sensitivethemovie.com/

DMW

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Thanks, DMW - helpful to others who read here, too, I should think. xx

kat said...

a goldfish?!!!!!!! :-O absolutely not ;-)
Praying for Thay - or whatever constitutes praying for me xxx

Pen Wilcock said...

What? Your goldfish are the intellectual types? Or did you think, piranha, more? xx

Meredith Roark Childress said...

You had me when you said that your aim in writing is to make goodness attractive. And you followed that with other lovely comments about kindness and gentleness and our ability to uplift each other.I've just found you through my daughter, Paula, and I've purchased the trilogy to begin reading. I will mention what another author said that I love: He said he writes because he knows his children and grandchildren will read it and be with him. I love that thought and know that it's the reason I want to leave a book or two when I die.I'm 74 now and I'm not sure I'll get anything finished, but thank you for your encouragement and attitude. Blessings...Meredith

Pen Wilcock said...

Meredith - everyone *thinks* about writing a book and lots of people start one. The difference between that and completing one is, simply, perseverance. If you write 500 words a day in 2015, you can get a 65,000 word book written by the end of May even if you have a few days off. You have nothing to lose, and eventually the chance will pass you by. Go for it! God bless your writing. xx

Meredith Roark Childress said...

Thanks for your reply and I'm going to go for it if I can come up with a subject I like. I don't know if you're familiar with NaNoWriMo, an organization that encourages novel writers to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I've written two books in two years, but am stopped cold by the editing. I wrote about 20,000 words this year on a new book, but that was it. (I moved across the country in April and am blaming that for my malaise.) BUT...I'm taking your advice seriously and appreciate it very much.

Pen Wilcock said...

Good for you! Not sure what you mean about being stopped cold by the editing. Do you mean re-drafting feels too demanding, r do you mean someone else's editing has discouraged you?
I often found once I've finished a book it feels too much to go straight on to a read-through. If you have written two manuscripts, maybe after a little while has passed you could go back and re-draft now? The same applies as for writing - give yourself a realistic chunk to work through as your target per day, and just do it; don't wait to feel inspired.
If you meant editing has discouraged you, then you maybe need an editor who can give you some tips to show you how to improve. xx

Meredith Roark Childress said...

Yes, Penelope, I am actually talking about the re-writing of the book--taking out the parts where I put in too many words or too many characters. I am a retired English teacher, so I probably believe I can do this or should be able to do this easily. It feels overwhelming. It has been a couple of years since I finished the manuscripts and I even got proof copies (uploaded on amazon.com) with beautiful covers, etc. Your idea to deal with smaller parts of it sounds like something I could manage, so thank you for that suggestion. I'll let you know how it goes if I make some progress.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hooray! God bless the work. xx