Writing myth

Lit"Jeff Vandermeer’s been looking at the idea that writers write because they
have to, and illustrates it with a lot of quotes from assorted webpages that in
isolation do sound more than a little precious.

I think there’s a difference between feeling driven to write, and the kind of
melodramatic statements that Jeff’s quoting, most of which would sound best if
said by someone wearing a floppy sleeved shirt, flinging their arm to their eyes
in their garret before flopping down in a consumptive fit.

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself at times (hell, I’ve got Moleskines),
but it’s not a good thing. It’s part of building a great exclusionary myth to
build up the image of what being a writer is all about – that when you are a
Writer you are not like ordinary people – you suffer more, you reach a depth of
emotion that others do not, these philistines in their workaday jobs spending
nine hours cleaning office floors or grinding their souls to slag in an office
simply don’t understand how damn hard writing is, how the blood sweats through
our fingers and on to the keyboard with every word, how we lay bare our souls,
strip our consciousness raw, give everything of our selves and we do it because
writing is like breathing, and were we to stop doing it, we would die! Die I
tell you!"

Iain Rowan