September 18, 2011

You're alone when you write

When making art, aim high.
It seems obvious -- of course you're alone when you write. But I mean you're really alone, to the point where you may as well be writing in outer space. When you go to that computer (or take pen and notebook in hand), there is no one there but you.

No one will write your book for you and it won't write itself. You are the one who will make or break your novel. I'll say it again: you're alone.

But another part of this deal is that you have complete freedom. From start to finish, no one but you is in charge. I like this so much and as I close in on the final manuscript of Xmas Carol I can feel the power of this proposition. The final form, the words as they'll be written in stone -- will come only from me.

It's like sculpting, this final stage of creating the book. Borrowing Michelangelo's imagery, I'm carving away the excess stone to reveal the sculpture of the story within. And in the process, I too am discovering its final form. I love this process.

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