Writer’s Log: Stardate 1-7-2012
For the first time in a few weeks I woke up this morning at 5:30—my usual time—eager to get out of bed and start writing. The reason, I think, is that this first chapter in my Creating Adam book started to come together yesterday. For a few weeks I have been struggling with how to make the first chapter not seem like a second introduction and yesterday I made enough progress that I began to feel like what I was doing would work. And I was eager to get back at it. I think the rest of the book will come more naturally, once I get into chapter two.
I have had many conversations over the years with people trying to “become” writers, from students to professional colleagues in the sciences, to people who simply loved the idea of being an “author.” In those conversations I always try to get the person to think about whether they really want to write, or do they just want to be an author? Just about everyone has books they love and, on some level, authors that they love. I think this makes us all somewhat attracted to the idea of being an author. But wanting to be an author is not the same thing as loving the work it takes to become an author. I would dearly love to be a bodybuilder with great abs and a chiseled physique but I hate sit-ups, treadmills, tofu, veggie drinks, sweat, gym shorts and all the other stuff associated with acquiring a great physique.
When students ask me about writing, I always suggest to them that they start a blog as an easy way to find out whether they really have what it takes to be a writer. Most of them don’t follow through, and those that do often run out of steam after 2 blogs. All of which means they don’t really want to be a writer.
The single most important thing to know about writing is that you have to love it to do it. The pay is somewhere between non-existent and terrible and there are so many people willing to do it for free that making a real living at it is basically impossible. Don’t be seduced by the success of J.K. Rowling or Malcolm Gladwell—they are the exceptions and there is almost no chance you will ever play on their team. Instead check out the Huffington Post where thousands of writers—including me—blog regularly with not one penny of compensation. Writing is not like lawyering, where you can hate your work but love the money you can make at it. You have to love writing if you want to write. But, if you do, you can wake up on Saturday morning with an eagerness to get back to writing, instead of feeling like you need to sleep in because you hate getting up every morning for your “real job.”
Writer’s Log Supplemental: Stardate 1-7-2012
Brazos sent the copies of Peter Enns Evolving Adam for my writing class. This is so cool that I can get free books for them. And help out my good friend Pete.