Friday, October 1, 2010

when it's good as gold

when is a writer's job ever done?

likely never. i'm told to view the world through my writer eyes. i should carry a journal, write tidbits of juicy good stuff i see while i drive, when i wait in line for lunch or coffee, or when i watch the news.

i've been bad (no surprise, have you seen my track record?). i don't carry a journal per se. but sometimes i find a bit of paper and scratch something out. sometimes i sit down at the computer screen and my hands freeze. sometimes i tell myself i'll just remember this and make it a damn fine story some other time and rarely do.

and when i finally do find something to write about-- i mean something i really want to write about, i wonder when is that work done? it has a beginning, middle and end, right? so it must be done.

but then again there is no end... to the incessant editing and reediting.  and when i finally think it's done, it's not.

a friend of mine said before you submit, your work needs to be good as gold, and i think he was right.
i'm waiting for gold paint to go on sale at the hardware store.

1 comment:

  1. When is a writer's job ever done? Well... that depends ( to my own poor eye at least) on what the job is, no?

    By chance, I posted something today that was on a similar vein. I won't bore by repeating it here. But, in essence, it harks to 'the writer's job'.

    If 'the job' is to get published, that is one thing. If "the job' is just to finish a book, then that is another.

    I was talking to someone recently who was telling me they may write a book some day. They knew I scribbled, and they asked me what the hardest part of it was. I said - to write. That the hardest part is actually to scribble words, good, bad or indifferent.

    So I would say, and you can ignore this because I'm an Idiot, the prime job of the writer is indeed the hardest one of all. And that is to write. To write and never stop writing. To let the words dance and to feel their metre and rhyme, their joy and pain. And yes, that is indeed excessively flowery :-).

    If the work of a writer that yu speak of is to reach that submission, then yes. Polish, grind and prime. But even there you can polish forever. Grind till the words are dust. The desire to reach a verdict can be overpowered by the fear of 'am I good enough'. Well, who knows?

    Perhaps it is better to submit the imperfect, but that has reached a level you think you can achieve to _find_ _out_ how far from the goal you are or how near. After all, if it is the opinion of another (an Agent, a publisher) that you seek, then until you give them the opportunity to offer it, you won't know what you need to do to improve it.

    I had some friends once (yes, I know it's hard to beieve) who asked me about some jobs they were looking at. They asked me if they were good enough to apply for them. I told them that wasn't my call. That wasn't even _their_ call. That there were people going to be paid to make that call. The interview panel. So apply and give them a chance to earn their money.

    Does it take a thick skin to know that 'good enough' may not be 'good enough'? Sure. Do you have to go in knowing you may leave by the door marked 'No'? Sure. But if you don't walk in, you won't ever get to see either door.

    When is the writer's job ever done? Never. When is it worth taking a check call? Heh... that depends. How thick is your skin?

    And not every check call is the final call. Even the boy with the lightning bolt in his hair came from a slush pile...

    The Idiot