Such a dangerous question when asked in relationship to so many different things.
Yesterday, in the last chapter of the book I did about writing a novel in five days while traveling, I made a comment near the end that I found the exercise fun to be able to (just for a few days) feel like I belonged in the world of the pulp writers.
And I made a comment that I was born too late.
A reader wrote me privately with a good comment. Basically the reader reminded me that I should feel lucky to have the modern things we writers use such as computers, control of our own work instead of selling it to gatekeepers and so on.
The reader made a very good point. We do have it so easy, so much easier than the pulp writers did. I know that, I study the pulp writers and their lives.
Yet even with things being easier, it is unusual for a writer in 2017 to write a novel in five days. (And realize the novel I wrote would have been on the long side for the length that pulp writers wrote.)
And the idea of someone like me doing that every week for years and years is just alien in this modern world.
So I got to wondering why? And I tried to find some reasons.
— Not a shortage of markets.
Any story can be out and in reader’s hands in very short order. No gatekeepers anymore of any value. So that’s not why.
— No problem with the mechanics.
Manual typewriters were a problem in the pulp days. (Anyone remember how to change a ribbon or carbon paper?)
But now we have computers, large screens, laptops, voice writing, you name it. All are used to make writing easier. And it is a ton easier. Not even in the same difficulty universe.
From there I came up with a blank.
Mechanics and markets, the two major limiting factors other than the writer’s belief system. And both mechanics and markets are a ton easier in the modern world.
So why do writers in this modern world not just write novels every week, week-after-week?
That even “Why?” question…
I knew the answer. Writer’s belief systems. Modern writers don’t believe they can.
That belief has been trained out.
Writers of the modern world have been taught to think that writing at pulp speed is different, unusual, a fantastic feat, massive work, and on and on and on…
I then realized I had done it too. And until tonight I hadn’t caught myself on it.
Look back at the last chapter I wrote. I called the entire idea of a novel in five days, “Crazy.”
Why? Writing a 40 thousand word novel should take me between 35 and 40 hours.
Sitting alone in a room and making stuff up for 40 hours in five days. What is so crazy about that????
And more importantly, what is so difficult about that?????
Those of you who work real day jobs, corporate jobs that take 40 or 50 or more hours a week should be looking at that and being disgusted. I got to spend 40 hours in five days just playing.
And people will pay me a lot of money over the rest of my life and beyond for those forty hours of playing.
Yet even I got caught up in the modern attitude of telling stories for fun and for hours at a time isn’t possible. Or it is difficult.
Or it is crazy. (I’m tossing my own words back at myself notice.)
So maybe it’s time for me to do a few more myth posts around this one area, if nothing else but to talk with myself about this problem in my own head.
Somehow, I have let the attitude of modern writers seep in, writers who think making something up for an hour a day is tough.
Now if day jobs and family limit your play to just an hour a day, that’s fine.
But if you have an entire day and you think you had a good day because you made up stuff for one hour, you may have an issue. Not a computer issue or a market issue, but an issue of attitude.
And I clearly had an issue when I thought the idea of spending 40 hours to write a novel in five days was crazy.
No wonder I got it finished. It wasn’t crazy or difficult at all. It was just another fun thing I did while enjoying my travels in Las Vegas.
Attitude is everything.
And having fun is the key to fixing the attitude.
(And I think I will add this onto the end of the book as a second epilogue…Might be the most helpful thing I say in the entire thing.)