The Guardian in the UK recently ran an article asking nine successful writers their thoughts on the writing process. Here’s the address to see the article in full:
Most of them said it was not a joyful experience. Perhaps they should have asked some children’s book authors? Maybe we retain a sense of wonder more easily? Of course it’s hard and often frustrating but nothing worthwhile is easy. Even when I am in the throes of writer’s block or the depth of plot confusion I still feel luckier than anyone else in the world because I have found what I love to do and furthermore what I am good at doing. Most people go through life not finding either.
I did like what Hari Kunzru had to say.
I get great pleasure from writing, but not always, or even usually. Writing a novel is largely an exercise in psychological discipline trying to balance your project on your chin while negotiating a minefield of depression and freak-out. Beginning is daunting; being in the middle makes you feel like Sisyphus; ending sometimes comes with the disappointment that this finite collection of words is all that remains of your infinitely rich idea. Along the way, there are the pitfalls of self-disgust, boredom, disorientation and a lingering sense of inadequacy, occasionally alternating with episodes of hysterical self-congratulation as you fleetingly believe you’ve nailed that particular sentence and are surely destined to join the ranks of the immortals, only to be confronted the next morning with an appalling farrago of cliches that no sane human could read without vomiting. But when you’re in the zone, spinning words like plates, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction and, yes, enjoyment.