Monday, September 21, 2009

A Brief Tear on the "Fun" of Writing

Did you watch the Emmys telecast last night? I didn't. I did, however, click on a few Emmy-related news links early this morning and came across this E! Online quote from Mad Men creator (and statue winner for writing) Matthew Weiner:

"When you get something like this, it makes writing look fun, but it's not."

To me, winning an Emmy — or, how about a pretty, pretty Newbery?!?!? — for writing does in fact sound super fun! Yet, as a writer, I know that the work that goes into most award-winning works is, ahem, a whole lotta WORK.

Fun can and should be had while working at any job, certainly. And I doubt any writer /*slash*/ thinking human being would unfavorably compare writing work to, say, physically difficult labor or otherwise emotionally unpleasant occupations (use your own POV/imagination here). Few writers have to work under downright smelly/filthy/scary/dangerous/extreme-temperatured conditions, after all.

When you are a writer (and yes, a kids' writer, even!), you have a job to do. You figure out how you will do it. You get started and actually finish. You meet your deadlines. You collaborate with your editor and your fact-checker and your agent and whomever else you need to keep happy. You, the plumber, the surgeon, the store clerk, the sales rep, the lawyer, the teacher, the animal trainer, the photographer, the chef, the baseball coach, the park ranger, the dentist, the personal assistant, the banker, the carpet cleaner, the engineer, the pastor, and everyone you know in every job you can think of have everything in common ------- you all get it done.

So. I feel obligated to point out and echo and beat to absolute death Matthew Weiner's sentiment. Even though I very much enjoy (and I do mean very.much.enjoy) being a writer who sometimes gets to create fun works, I felt the urge to blog that I never sit down to my desk . . . and I do mean NEVER . . . thinking, "This is going to be fun."

Instead I think things like "This should be easy" or "I have no idea where to start" or "I can't wait to try my new idea" or "Yesterday's writing was crap" or "I need some new research" or "It's time to interview my expert" or "I'm going to solve that plot problem if it kills me" or "Just 1,000 words to go" or "I wish I didn't have to do ANY of today's tasks . . . but of course I will, because that's my job."

And thus concludes my brief tear on the "fun" of writing.

No comments: