A good storyteller, like anyone who’s skilled at their craft, makes the art of creating a story look incredibly easy. When we see the finished product – the story, the drawing, or whatever it is that you create – all too often the process of work that produced the end result just isn’t acknowledged.
Even the best writers have multiple drafts of a story floating about before they get it ‘just right’ and are happy enough to put their work out into the world. Even then, they’re usually never completely satisfied that it is what it should be.
I’m currently reading Claire Keegan’s book of short stories, Walk the Blue Fields, which is of course, a perfect example of someone who’s great at what they do, but who makes it look deceptively easy.
Does it take away the magic of writing if we make it clear just how many drafts and scribblings out we do in the course of creating a story? Or does it educate readers and make them more appreciative of our work?
As a copywriter, I find that outlining the process of writing and explaining the value of it is of the utmost importance in my day-to-day job. Most people see the finished content you create and assume it was easily done and place little value on what is actually a very valuable commodity. With creative writing however – with novelists and short story writers and poets – do we need the same disclosure? The process is perhaps a little better understood anyway – most people know books get edited, and I’m not sure they’d necessarily buy a novel quicker if they knew it had taken X amount of drafts to create.
Writers of course, are perhaps more interested in hearing about other writers’ habits than the general reading public. I’ve interviewed lots of authors over the years and feedback always references the writing process – we wonder at the number of drafts someone had before they finished their story; we agree with them that mornings are best for writing (for some!) and feel relieved that we’re on the same page in our working styles.
My own writing process has been quite disrupted this week, with an ill dog (I refer you back to my previous post where I mentioned his love of scavenging….), a press launch and work in between. I’ve managed a little reading, but the writing has suffered.
I know my own writing process however, and that I can have periods of ebb and flow as part of this. Ultimately though, I always end up scribbling away in that notebook…