Workman-like professions

In Onward on August 20, 2008 at 8:46 pm

I heard back from one of my current writer heroes yesterday.  My question for him was, “How did you get your start in writing?”  I wrote him from my work email address last week.  It was strangely exhilarating getting a response from him.  I read his posts all the time, but now it was the same voice only addressed to me!  He described writing as a “workman-like profession.”  I equated workman-like with blue collar; a laborer’s job.  I would have to put in time.  This peculiar phrase prompted a conversation with Lindsay.  To her, the phrase signaled a craftsman.  Like any other art form, writing requires practice and consistent effort.

I preferred the craft approach rather than the laborer.  Although, I believe the phrase captures both.  So, here I sit laboring at the end of a day.  I think the real work is not the writing, but the preparation to write.  To write means I have something to say.  When I was in college, I procrastinated on papers simply because I did not allot the time to conceptualize what I would say.  Once I knew what I wanted to say, the execution of writing a paper was quite simple.  Even now as I consider a career in writing, I have to form a concept of that which I would write.  To whom will I write?  What am I hoping to achieve?  How will I know if I have achieved the desired effect?

One thing is clear; I write better when I am filled.  The other night at Barnes & Noble left me feeling refreshed.  As a writer, I cannot hope to create without this sense of renewal.  Even spiritual disciplines can leave me dry when not balanced with a pure sense of rest.  My hope for development stems from a partnership between work and play.


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