Writing is carpentry! Must-read Granta post by Natasha Pulley
I came across a post on Granta called “The Myth of the Creative Genius” and it so encapsulates how I feel about writing–not to mention, the Center’s philosophy about writing–that I had to share it here.
Author Natasha Pulley writes:
It’s tempting to feel like writers have some sort of special, unique connection to a well of creativity – everyone else can look in and make a wish, but writers go down on the chain and dive, and the water turns them to something extraordinary. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a reason writing is surrounded by words like workshop and wordsmith and playwright: carpentry, bolt-it-together words. Writing is just cabinet-making with language.
I couldn’t agree more. I do not believe writers are born and not made. I do think that what makes a writer is that they write. I believe anyone who feels the call to write, and write well, can do so if they are willing to do the work. The metaphor of the writer as carpenter is a good reminder that, as Pulley says, “Writing is treated differently to carpentry, pottery, pattern cutting, even fine art, because you can’t see it.” You see only a final product of the book, not the dozens of drafts, the cut passages, the memories in their raw forms, the awkward phrasing that’s been smoothed out… Pulley says she imagines many people who could be brilliant writers being “put off by the idea that you must be an innate genius” to be one.
Those “genius” writers? They did the work.
And so can you. So can practically anyone.