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'Writing is work'

13 January 2022

‘If there is anything I believe to be foundational to the business of writing then it is this: writing is work. To frame it in this way is to acknowledge that good writing doesn't come out, fully formed, at two in the morning; and nor does it require anything extraordinary in the way of genius or education, although of course it's possible to have an aptitude for it, and reading helps.

Instead, good writing happens, in increments, between everything else that needs to be done. To believe otherwise feels, to me, like a form of exclusion, keeping out anyone who might have parts of their lives which must take precedence: bills to be paid or people to be cared for, appointments which can't be missed, worries, aches; whereas to define writing as work is to believe both that it can be learned, and that it can be put aside. It is to delineate it as part of the ordinary. It is to state that, far from being esoteric, like gold leaf on a halo, writing requires in the main what all things require if one wants to make a decent fist of them: learning, practice, repetition.'

Jessie Greengrass, author of Sight and The High House: A Novel in an article entitled Learning, Practice, and Repetition: Why the Act of Writing Is Work in Lit Hub