Traditional Publishing

Four myths about writing – Saturday December 31, 2022

Rosemary Jenkinson challenges four preconceptions about the writing life

Writing is a serious job. Susan Sontag wrote, ‘I always begin with a great sense of dread and trepidation,’ and Nietzsche compared the decision to start writing to ‘leaping into a cold lake,’ but for me it’s like diving into a hot tub with champagne and a bevy of hot studs. I understand that some authors can be crippled by self-expectation, but writing is such a joy I sometimes wake up like a child on Christmas morning longing to unwrap my toys. While I take writing seriously, I can’t, however, take the writing world seriously. Nor should you. Byron hilariously punctured Wordsworth’s pomposity by calling him Turdsworth. Being tongue-in-cheek and laughing at the litterati is great for your mental health. It was Oscar Wilde who recognized the paradox by claiming that, ‘Some things are too important to be taken seriously.’ It’s all to the better if people don’t know whether you’re being serious or not. To quote Wilde again, ‘I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.’

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