|Linus the cat keeps a safe distance from the Roomba. |
Photo by Eirik Newth.
I suppose it's true with most writers.
But what's also true is that unlike clothes that wash themselves, dishes that wash themselves and floors that vacuum themselves ... books do not write themselves. They take work and effort and planning and plotting and rewriting and editing and more writing. And some of the most effortless reading you'll enjoy, I'll bet resulted from a writer who worked very hard making each word in every sentence just-so.
Joan, Elizabeth and I heard Ron Rash read aloud a portion of one of his short stories at a recent signing in Dallas. Lyrical, wonderful, seemingly effortless prose that he later admitted he had rewritten about 30 times.
His confession made me think of the short story I wrote during our most recent writing retreat--one that flowed with very little effort. In fact, I was in awe of myself, really. That from start to finish, this piece just came out. So smitten with the result, I immediately submitted it to a contest. Guess what? It didn't place. I made a few edits and sent it off to another one. And, drum roll ... nothing!
In hindsight, I can admit I didn't do the work. As much as the story seemed to flow, it didn't write itself. And while it might not need to be written 30 times, I can admit ... it's not quite there yet. Each word in every sentence isn't just-so.
Until someone invents a 'Bookba,' a device that will write books all by itself, it's up to each writer to work hard, hone his or her craft, and produce stories worth reading and sharing. Besides, I wouldn't want to read a story that didn't have the heart and soul of a real person invested in it. Those are the stories I want to read. And write.