Dig this: The so-called “writing life” is basically sitting on your ass.
There is indeed a half-wild beast that lives in the thickets of each writer’s imagination. It gorges on a half-cooked stew of suppositions, superstitions and half-finished stories. It’s drawn by the stink of the image-making stills writers paint in their heads.
I’m often asked if writing classes are any help, and my immediate and enthusiastic answer is always, Yes! Writing classes are wonderful for the writers who teach them and can’t make ends meet without that supplementary income. They are also good places for unattached people to meet, talk about books and movies, have a few drinks and possibly hook up. But teach you to write? No. A writing class will not teach you to write. The only things that can teach writing are reading, writing and the semi-domestication of one’s muse. These are all activities one must pursue alone
I’m going to save this now to the hard drive and go out for my afternoon walk. Three and a half miles. For about half of that distance, I will look at the trees and the sky. For the other half, I will think about the book I’m currently writing (a novel called Duma Key ). My muse may visit. She may not. The trick is to be there waiting if she does. There’s a doll named Noveen in Duma Key , and I don’t know what that doll’s about yet. I need a visit from my muse to tell me because I’m stuck there. But I’m not worried. We’ve got a good working relationship, she and I.