Sunday, November 08, 2015

Sunday Sermonette: Father Bukowski Addresses NaNoWriMo

...and that writer’s group you go to for “feedback” when you should be secure enough in your talent to write and edit yourself. Verily, thou shouldst shun people and their opinions, find a place to sit down and write, then sit down and write. Hearken ye unto the wise counsel of Father Bukowski, even as he rambles a bit, that you might make the core truth your own:

I bought a laptop in 2008 because I was romanced by the notion that I could go anywhere and write. I’ve found it doesn’t work that way. All my writing happens in this small office/bedroom in my finished basement, in the corner between the door and the unfinished storage closet leading under the stairs. I’ve been at it for years in this space, with the laptop sitting over the desk on a brace so the air flows beneath it while allowing me more room on my desk.

It’s a cozy space where other people are not. Ironically, despite going to literal ground here, I’ve made new friends in the UK, Germany, and France from my chair in its fixed location underground, and connected with all kinds of people across the good ol’ USA, thanks to the miracle of Twitter. It’s one big happy fandom with everyone a fan of everyone else, and no one getting hurt.

But the writing is done alone. Always alone. This is how it must be. “WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR TYPEWRITER YOU LEAVE YOUR MACHINE GUN AND THE RATS COME POURING THROUGH.” The chatter of the keys must never stop. Hit the target with what you know, and don’t stop to learn that which you should already know. 

My machine gun emplacement.
You are not here to research. You are not here to entertain dinner parties or charm professors. You are not here to participate in Write a Novel in One Month contests. You are not writing to impress So-and-so at the writer’s group who hates the sight of you. Your readers don’t need to know what you look like.

You are behind closed doors. You are offline. You are writing. Or you are not. You are writing the kind of book you’d want to read, or you have no idea what you’re doing. In which case you’ll keep writing until you figure it out. Or not.

Is you are or is you ain’t a writer? We shall know thee by thy fruits.

And now the lesson is yours.