THE LONELY CROWD
As I write today’s blog, I am also working through some edits my publisher has requested for my third novel. I won’t reveal the title as I don’t officially have a contract, yet. We’ll have to see how the editing goes. To rewrite a book I thought I’d finished is tedious. Pulling out my hair would seem more rewarding. Of course, I’m not the only writer to be required to go through this exercise. Stephen Hawking, working from a wheelchair and struggling with ALS, was asked for numerous revisions before “A Brief History of Time” was published. So who am I to complain? At least my book is no longer languishing.
Last Saturday, I had coffee with a friend who is a professional writer. She’s a journalist so her stories are fact with the exception of her opinion column. On the day we met, she admitted she’d had a recent conversation about her column with her newspaper editor. She was asked to rein in her zeal for politics. The publication my friend writes for specializes in light news, personal profiles and uplifting thought. Naturally, the women with whom I was having coffee wanted to point out that cheery thoughts are difficult, given the state of the world; but like Hawking and me, she bowed to the wishes of her boss. She agreed to put a smile on her words.
Walking home, I thought about the business of writing. We often think of it as a solitary venture, someone sitting at his computer, composing his thoughts. But in fact, a number of people are peering over a writer’s shoulder, the editor, the publisher and the public, to name the important ones. Writing for publication really isn’t a solitary process and those of us engaged in the practice delude ourselves if we imagine it is.
Wordsworth once wrote, “The world is too much with us.” It’s a truth every Christmas shopper knows this time of year. An aspiring writer would do well to remember it, too..