“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway’s quote perhaps more than any other perpetuates the trope of the tortured genius. The writer, sweating blood into a keyboard, the whiff of quiet desperation rising from soul-baring words.
Is it really that bad? Maybe. Aged 61, Hemmingway took his own life. Shotgun. Was it the writing, his alcoholism, depression – or all three – that pushed him into the abyss?
The business writer is less vulnerable, performing as hired help to cover subjects divorced from the writer’s identity and safely distanced from their soul.
Nevertheless, the words are the writer’s, and they will be scrutinised, picked apart, bounced around for editing, and maybe even land in a place far from the writer’s idea of how things should be said. But that’s OK.
Taking a dispassionate view of your craft is a good thing – there’ll be much less blood and self-loathing. It also encourages a more pragmatic mindset when putting pen to paper, freeing the mind and stimulating flow.
Political journalist and best-selling author Roger Simon knows what it means to attain this elevated state. “There is no such thing as writer’s block,” he said. “My father drove a truck for 40 years and never once did he wake up in the morning and say: ‘I have truck driver’s block today. I am not going to work’.”
Writing – nothing to it. So get on with it.
And be thankful you’re not a painter: “It’s horrendous, it’s constant failure”