Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Writer in Isolation

I've been writing a lot lately and searching for advice on it from one of the greats....

"Talk is a danger to writers. More than that, talk is a positive, ugly menace. Talk is so much easier than writing , its satisfactions are so immediate, that some of the need to write is all too easily lost in it. It may be true that no man will talk himself out of being a writer if he has it in him to write, and no doubt some men have capacity for both. But I think the frustration of enforced silence is good for most of us. Young writers who meet in groups to discuss their own work would be better at home writing more and talking not at all; and old writers who yield to the incessant demands of service clubs and other organizations are bleeding energy they need for the vastly more important business of writing. Even service club members can read if they would; and if they want a writer's words, the printed page is where to find them....

In the end, all writing is isolation. A man observes and absorbs readily enough among his friends. He may test ideas or sharpen argument or search for encouragement in talk. But he must mature his thought, develop and control his emotions, plan his work, alone. And he must write it alone."

Roderick Haig-Brown
The writer in isolation: A surprise exploration of a given subject (1959)

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Nate. Another great Haig piece.