Saturday, September 10, 2011

So you think you can dance...

I run for the bus. I make something for dinner every night. I dance when I go to a wedding reception. Doing any of the aforementioned does not mean I'll sprint in the Olympics, open a gourmet restaurant, or become a contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance".

People write every day: emails at work, Facebook status updates, job applications, shopping lists and so on. Being able to put words on paper (or a screen) does not mean you can be a writer any more than nuking dinner means you're the next Gordon Ramsey.

It's astonishing how many people assume that penning a book is something they can do whenever they get around to it.  Whenever I do events or book signings, I always meet a few aspiring writers who seem to think that the only thing standing between themselves and a bestseller is enough hours in a day to tap away on the keyboard.  

My favourite comment on this involved (I believe) Margaret Atwood.  A fan met her at a book event and told her he was a surgeon.  He said that when he retired, he planned to write a novel about his years in medicine.  Atwood (or whoever it was) replied that when she retired from writing, she planned to start performing surgery.

Writing well takes a lot of work, and a lot of practice.


  1. I'm going to remember that one and adjust accordingly :-)

  2. It will be a long while before I start to perform appendectomies ;-) Thanks Sarah!