Most writers I know believe that, for some inexplicable reason, it’s easy for other writers to get their writing done. I certainly believe this.
For example, I know that it’s easy for Carol to knock out a book in a few days, tinker with it for a day or two after that, and then ship it off to her agent. She’s publishing on a pace slightly more than a book a year, so that means she’s got about 50 weeks of free time in any given year.
Andy is cut from the cloth. She’s so disciplined and efficient that she can write a complete chapter between labor pains. She now has three boys and a house to take care of—no problem. Books appear in her head, fully-formed, and she just needs to find a few minutes each night to sit at a keyboard and download it all. Kind of like taking dictation.
Anyway, like Carol, Andy is awash in energy, creativity, and free time.
In contrast, I am a tortoise, and not the plodding, successful type featured in the time-worn fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” I am a prehistoric tortoise, one slowed not only by the weighty and cumbersome shell but also by the ravages of age. In the time it takes me to write a page, Carol and Andy will have popped out four or five polished chapters, baked an apple pie for their neighbors, watched three episodes of “Jersey Shores” and bossed around their yard boys for not keeping their lawns and sideburns tidy enough. In the time it takes me to finish a book, glaciers will have moved a mile closer to the sea. And it’s likely that my oldest granddaughter will be a graduate student by the time I can conceive and finish a new book.
I’m telling both of you this because I am officially retiring from throwing up words—and from writing blogs. To steal and morph a line from “His Coy Mistress,” “Had I words enough and time” I would be able to write a blog, teach my classes, grade my papers, and work on my own writing. But I’m not Speedy Gonzales or the Roadrunner when it comes to putting words together, so it’s time to conserve what feeble writing energy I have for writing a book project, not a blog.
So I’m going to fade away, to melt into the floor like Oz’s Wicked Witch, to ride off into the sunset, to crawl into a rocking chair with a 2-liter bottle of Geritol, to use what few lucid moments my brain can spare on writing books—and maybe playing with the grandkids.
Carol, Andy, and Kyra may soon be advertising for a replacement Junior Assistant Co-blogger for Throwing Up Words, and I’m sure they’ll have many fine, talented applicants.
Be warned, though, the pay sucks.