Writing Report January 20, 2018
My new year’s resolution is still working out three weeks into 2018.
Setting aside specific days for digital maintenance / upkeeping / updating, and for reading my backlog of books & magazines is proving enormously helpful in keeping the creative juices flowing on other days.
In the last two months I’ve written three short plays, several bog posts, some poems, and plotted another novel.
With the new year’s resolutions freeing up more time, I’m getting more material ready for publication.
Speaking of which, keep your eyes open for “While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep” in Analog later this year -- my first sale to the magazine and the fulfillment of a goal I’ve pursued for over 50 years!
. . .
I love my wife dearly, she loves me and cares for me and has been a wonderful life partner, but she’s never quite grasped the meaning of The Work.
Oh, she understands I put words together and sometimes (“Per page, per word, perhaps” to quote Robert Benchley) I get paid for same and to that extent it’s a job, and when you do a job long enough (even if you’re not very good at it), it becomes a career (by default if not design).
But neither a job nor a career is The Work.
And I’m not referring to “a work” as in “a work of fiction” but rather a proper noun, a title, a name:
The Work is what writers and other creators do.
It’s not a discreet assemblage of verbiage or imagery but rather a process…a discipline…a philosophy…a faith that not merely determines what we do but who we are.
The Work is not something one aspires to.
There are those who aspire to be creative and if they are bright enough and clever enough they can find brief favor with the public and to these we begrudge no happiness or success.
Indeed, we who do The Work often envy them, because when they achieve their self-determined benchmarks, they’re free to quit.
We did not choose The Work.
The Work chose us.
The Work is not judged by volume or sales. The Work is not judged by levels of craftsmanship or technical skill or artistic talent.
The Work…is not judged.
The Work provides the rationale for the creator’s existence.
It is an ongoing, never ending phenomenon.
The creative well may run dry on occasion, but that doesn’t mean The Work is finished.
The final product may be trivial and trite, but that doesn’t mean The Work is invalid.
The Work doesn’t begin when a creator wakes in the morning (or in the mid-afternoon, or late at night, or whenever).
The Work goes on even when the creator sleeps, for dreams are the engines of the night, and The Work in no small part are the dreams of the creator on the page (or stage, or screen, or even the sidewalk).
The Work is abstract and ephemeral. It leaves artifacts in its wake, but The Work itself is formless and insubstantial, invisible and yet invaluable.
The Work is what we do.
The Work is what we are.
And despite The Work manifesting itself differently in everyone called to do it, The Work is the same.
To paraphrase a Talmudic proverb, we are not required to finish The Work…
…but neither are we allowed to abandon it.
© Buzz Dixon