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.