Exactly right

Check out this blog post from one of my favorite writers, Esquire’s Chris Jones.

These three grafs pretty much sums up what Jones is talking about when he’s discussing book-writing:

I get a lot of e-mails, and the great majority of them have something to do with writing and how to do it for a living. Strangely — or at least it seems strange to me — a lot of people seem to think they can write a book. Nobody thinks they could start plumbing a house tomorrow; nobody thinks they could sit down first thing in the morning and spay a cat. And yet a lot of people think they can write books. “They’re just words,” someone once said to me.

There’s a story up here, probably more legend than truth. The famed novelist Margaret Atwood was apparently at a party, talking to a brain surgeon. He told her that he was going to write a novel when he retired. “Oh, that’s funny,” Atwood said. “I was thinking of doing brain surgery.”

Book-writing is a mean business. They’re just words, but they’re 100,000 words assembled in some beautiful and logical order to tell a story that keeps a reader plugging along from beginning to end.

I don’t get offended when people say things like that to me – hell, maybe these people can write a book – but to me, it’s not about saying you’re thinking about doing it. It’s about actually putting fingers to keyboard. Bearcats Rising took me about a year to write. I put my soul through the wringer for the final product. I fried my brain so hard on it that I haven’t read the book since it came out in Aug. 2009 (I might never read it at all). But sure, go ahead and write yourself a book. I’d be happy to copy-edit it.

You know, I guess I am offended a little bit.

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