I babble. I falter. I digress.
I’m sure lots of other people can say the same, and it’s no different for writers. The only saving grace we have is editing. That’s why, for example, I am much better at writing than talking. Because I edit out all of those little peevish things I do in everyday speech.
Truth is, I can’t tell a joke right because I can never remember the punch-line, or I start telling the joke, which reminds me of something else, and I forget it was a joke in the first place. Alternatively, I would not stress the right part at all, which would make people laugh at my measly efforts. Sigh.
I can’t even make a single argument properly because I digress too much and too often. I also use those horrid little pick-me-ups-and-leave-me-downs like ‘I mean’, ‘right’, ‘yeah’, etc. Fillers! I hate fillers. Must kill fillers.
But then it would sound too stupid to drag a huge Uuuuughhh, like some kind of a moron in the pauses between arguments. Then maybe I should not make pauses altogether, should I? Yes, life would be a better place without pauses and silences that we desperately need to fill all the time.
See? I did it again.
So what I mean to say is: editing is what counts in writing. When I was just starting to write, I used to torture myself over being unable to write something good in one sitting. I thought writers just got it ‘almost right’ the first time, so they only tweaked a little here and there to polish and get it ready for publication. Now I’ve accepted that I’d be lucky to get it right the second time around.
So when a writer writes about writing (points to blog title and grins), what she is really writing about is editing. It’s the craft part of any skill. There’s talent, there’s style, and there’s craft. Surely, a writer cannot be great without craft.
Sure, certain parts of writing are pure and untouched by the inky fingers of the editing monster, called Ed for short. And those parts are always romanticized among writers. While they are seen as ‘divine intervention’, ‘muse’, and ‘god-given talent’, Ed is overlooked as the villain who will taint the magnificence of the written word instead of fixing it.
Boy, how wrong that is. And you know it. And I know that you know it. It’s like those romcoms on TV. Say it with me: love is NOT about rainbows and happy endings and men professing their love for women. In the best case scenario, they’ll grunt their thanks if we are so kind as to fetch them beer.
So Edless inspiration is like those idealized moments on screen. It’s life as we want it, but it’s definitely not life as we know it (which is also a romcom title). And that’s fine. However, I personally don’t mind putting in the hard work into my writing. In fact, it’s what makes me better, and also what makes me feel useful somehow. Worthy almost.
And while pure inspiration is what brings Ed to life, Ed cannot exist without inspiration, just like inspiration cannot survive without Ed.