Friday, October 9, 2009

Meno Urges Experimentation

In an interview with, Joe Meno (author of The Great Perhaps) explains what he believes is the most-important thing that writers who want to get published should know:

In order to write one good story, you're going to probably write ten bad ones. You have to actually in this weird way enjoy or accept that that's the process. You should approach each story as a kind of experiment, and you try it, and if it works it works, if it doesn't, you move on to the next thing. Writing is like every artistic endeavor in that it's entirely about practice. If you can't enjoy being in front of the computer for a couple of hours and writing something and throwing it out, you're probably not going to enjoy being a writer. That's all I do every day. The least interesting thing to me about writing is that it's immortal or that it's bound in a hardcover book. That's less interesting to me than the part where you're building the story. The most fun for me is the actual writing.
Read the whole thing. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that failing to apprehend this attitude kills off more beginning writers than anything else. Sure, everyone wants that external validation of seeing his name in print, of being able to hold up a sheaf of pages and say, “Look what I did!” But the barriers are so high (and our skills, at least at the start, so comparatively low) that if we don't delight in the process, we'll soon conclude it's better not to attempt the climb at all. In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott muses over a similar perspective held by students in her creative writing classes: "The problem that comes up over and over again is that these people want to be published. The kind of want to write, but they really want to be published. You'll never get to where you want to be that way, I tell them. ... Publishing won't do any of those things; you'll never get in that way."

(Picture: CC 2006 by
Hey Paul; Hat Tip: Brandywine Books)

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