Right, so I was reading Nova's blog and the first paragraph had me saying, "Yes!" (Of course, that's not an exac-- okay, you got it...)
Here's the first paragraph:
Say one day you get an idea. You’re delusional enough to think it could be a book or something. So you gather up the stamina, drive, inspiration, guts needed to write it, you dig yourself out pockets of time, you bang your head against the wall, you let go of your grip of reality, you lose friends because you’re always at your writing spot writing, you let yourself think you should be allowed to do something this extravagant like be a novelist or something and… somehow… you complete that novel. That’s the most satisfying moment in the world, isn’t it?
In one paragraph, I found my entire writing life. The frustration. The joy. Re-reading a passage of Legendary Days and thinking, "Holy... this is actually good." And there's all your friends who say things like, "Have you got your book published yet?" Or "I should write a book..." which always seems to be said in a way that barely hides what they're really thinking: If this moron can do it, hell, I'm probably the next Jonathan Safran Foer or something.
All of that is so true, so well put, that I felt like I needed to share it and then ghetto it up with my own thoughts.
But above all the frustration, joy, and friends who are about *this* close to getting a ninja kick to the face, it's the idea that being a novelist is extravagant. I've heard people say that there's a certain amount of arrogance in wanting to write a book, especially when you suffer from the mad compulsion that some of us have faced in trying to put words on paper in just the right order. There may be better words to explain it. Like Mental Illness.
After looking up the definition of extravagant, I think I we should just stick with extravagant... (although certain definitions, when paired with writing/writers, does make a strong case for Mental Illness...) Because writing is extravagant. Writing a novel - even calling yourself a novelist or writer sometimes does exceed the limits of reason or necessity.
Because writing is grueling and, at times, thankless. For every moment of joy, I have about 500 moments of self doubt. For every epiphany, there's about 700 places where I smell my manuscript because I can't tell if I'm a bad writer, or if one of my kids puked on the pages.
I'm convinced it is not normal to want to be a writer. It may be romantic, but it certainly is not the mark of a sane person.
Because why would you want to make your life harder? Why add on hours to your normal work day, long after kids/wives/husbands/dogs/your xbox/whatever have gone to sleep? Why do all this against some very discouraging statistics that say most of us will never be published?
Re-read Nova's paragraph, and I think the answer is obvious.
It's the day when you can say, "This is finished. And it is good." Even better, the day when somebody else - your wife, an agent, an editor - really *gets* what your book is about. It's the day when you can put something out into the world that has the power to make somebody else laugh, cry, stalk you on Twitter.
It's the second or third book you write, when you really get into your groove. Or maybe it's a third draft when everything that's coming out of your head just fits. You've got the voice nailed and, even though it's 1 a.m. and you have to get up at 6 or whatever, you keep typing.
It's extravagant because, for some of us, it is just that important. More than that, it is necessary. There is a lack of moderation on our ideas, our words, our hope that one day we will be able to support ourselves (even meagerly...) as the most hallowed of all things - a writer.