This book brought to
you by guilt.
My long-time writing mentor Tim Powers is the first to admit that he’s no role model. And yet, whenever I’m looking for inspiration I find him there with his quirky and often contradictory take on the writing life.
What I am saying is that guilt is an inherent part of being a writer. Powers says this too: when you’re a writer you’ll do anything to avoid actually sitting down to write; but you’re also sort of honor-bound to feel bad about it when you succeed in avoiding the work.
|1074 pages? There’s
not enough guilt in
This is where I find myself now. Having drafted the novel, I know, deep down in that place of Truth, that I’m not ready to start revising it yet. It needs to sit, to steep, for the memory of the words I’ve written to drain away from my fingertips and my neurons. This too is part of the accepted rules. But the guilt is strong. Get back to work, it says.
I’ve written a short story, and I should write some more of them. If I were a “real” author I could do that, switching between projects like a channel-surfer with a cramping finger. But it’s hard: the brain-space of the novel bleeds into any new work, suggesting ideas for revision and getting in the way of alternate narratives.
What is the answer? I wish I knew. I’d write a story about it.