Blood, Sweat, and Gala Luncheons

Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” which I’m sure is a shock to no semi-literate person. Then again, he also claimed to only need 4 hours of sleep per night and said, Religion is all bunk," not to mention being kind of a jerk about copyright stuff.

But I digress…

I think there is a temptation in the creative arts to reverse that idiom…the first one, not the second one, as that would be absurd. “All bunk is religion.” I mean, that’s just nonsense. Then again, so is trying to claim that art, being a product of good fortune and the favors of the muse has less to do with work and more to do with invisible lightning bolts of epiphany.

If you listen to Stephen King talk about writing, it’s mostly work—reading lots, editing, getting peer feedback, incorporating that into another edit, giving feedback, re-editing, and so on. Sure, our brief little ficlies don’t demand a lot of work, but I know I for one find myself sitting around waiting for the next great idea to pop up. It rarely does as I sit idly playing Bejeweled or TapFish. It probably won’t.

It’s not exactly slaving away in the coal mines, but being a writer is hard work. If you want to take it seriously, and be taken seriously, expect to put some effort into it. Now, get writing, people! (and by ‘people’, I mean me too)

It’s not all gala luncheons, you know.

5 comments Posted 2010-08-15 Author: THX 0477


  • August Rode

    There’s nowt wrong wi’ gala luncheons, lad! I’ve had more gala luncheons than you’ve had hot dinners! — Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Ep. 2

  • Jim Stitzel

    Well said, sir. It’s definitely a lot of work, but at least it’s rewarding work!

  • THX 0477

    Haha, someone got the reference, and right off the bat too. Thanks for that, August.

  • ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Don’t forget the tears! If it doesn’t move you, it won’t move your audience. (Yeah you left that our of the title on purpose, to be all Monty Python, and to avoid writing about crying. ) You’re right though, editing and rewriting is hard work. That’s why we have ficly, to play in!

  • derek balsam

    Writing sure is hard wor—-ow, my writer’s cramp!

    Seriously, though, I’m not entirely sure that short fiction is of necessity any ‘easier’ than long works. Short fiction to me is very much like sculpture: it’s all in knowing what parts you have to remove from the starting material.