Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Finishing a Novel

Stephen King in his book, On Writing, suggested that we think of our writing as a job, rather than an art. Looked at this way, writing becomes easier. We are crafters and laborers who are assembling words instead of, say, building a cathedral or an airplane. And in the same way that an stone mason or a pilot one day finishes his project, we will finish our books. 

This is one of our airplanes. It's a kit-built Van's RV-7. It took all of my husband's spare time for six years to build. We flew it unpainted for two years. Then last May, he took another five months to paint it.

I'm really proud of him!

I also enjoy being a craftsperson working on my novel, although sometimes it feels like it'll never be done. I've already been working on it for two years. How much longer?

Then I think about Stephen King's analogy. And I think about my husband's labor of love in building our airplane. I don't know if my finished product will fly, but our airplane sure does. 

We're leaving this morning for a 10-day vacation in Sacramento and San Francisco. But we're not flying. Regrettably, the weather's too bad. So we'll drive on bad roads instead.  


  1. Wow on the plane.

    I guess I never thought about whether writing was a craft or an art, I just do it. But Stephen is right, especially if you don't write literary. To me, there's a lot more art to it than with other genres.

  2. Yes. This is the best job I've ever had. And the hardest, and the worst paid . . . but I love it.

  3. I can't believe you guys built a plane! Strangely enough, I bet the book is harder, though. It doesn't come with instructions :)

  4. Goodness, what a job! building a plane, now that is a challenge and a half.

    Just thought i'd pop in and say hello, we are in the same Crusade group (at present still only drafts.) so HELLO. Nice to meet you.

    have put links to all the group blogs on my site, under a separate "crusade group heading"

    best of luck with the writing and crusading. hope we can all help!

    Constance from the Precocious Scribe

  5. I think as compared to a job you LOVE, this is true. You need to look at it as 'not optional'--something you do every day no matter what, and it will happen. My first novel took about 28 months to write and STILL isn't clean, but i've written several books since then and it is a lot faster because I've learned so much and gotten more efficient at it. Fun little plane!

  6. Oh my gosh! Love this post. My husband has his multi-engine rating - - so I understand the "pilot" thing, a little. I also live in Idaho. And, looks like we are in the same Crusader group! Nice to meet you. :)

  7. This post came at a great time. I only have two chapters left to edit, but with kids home with the flu I just can't get to it. Time to look at it as a job and get it done! :)

  8. That's so true. I still have trouble thinking of my writing as a job, but it's definitely something I need to do. I'm a full-time writer from 9-5 and I know that if I didn't have deadlines and paychecks, I'd hardly ever get a thing done. I need to take that outlook home with me so I can make continuous progress on the WIP.

    I just saw that we're in the same Crusader group so I thought I'd say hello!

  9. Deborah and Jess said it perfectly above. If only there were an instruction book for writing - a how-to that you could follow from beginning to end. But I even without the instructions, it's a job I wouldn't trade! Have a fun, safe trip!

  10. Amazing... Building a plane.

    Hi, Catherine,

    I hopped over from the crusader list to introduce myself and follow.

    I write Y/A contemporary as well.

    Nice to meet you.


  11. I'm a member of your Crusade group, stopping by to say hi!

    Those pictures and the analogy are amazing and so inspiring. Thank you for sharing! I hope you enjoy your trip even though you can't fly there!

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

  12. Cool airplane! That is so amazing that you can fly whenever you want. Enjoy your vacation. It's great to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  13. To me the writing itself is art and craft. But there's also work/a job and later a business. o.0

    Nice to meet you, fellow crusader. :) I'm your newest follower.


  14. Awesome plane, I'm impressed! And writing--and finishing--a book deserves credit, too. Yes, writing is a job, but it's also a craft to master. And the satisfaction lingers.

    Now if the marketing wasn't so difficult!!

  15. I loved his book! Was so encouraging to me as a writer. Found you on the crusader list so I stopped in to follow and say hello!

  16. I'm here on your blog for the writing, but my husband happened to lean over my shoulder (he's an airplane enthusiast) and now you have two fans!

  17. I love the analogy, Cathy! I think writing is a very difficult job. But I'm glad I'm not building airplanes! I'm NOT to be trusted. :)

    Have a great (and safe) trip!

  18. Stephen King's book on writing is probably the best I've read. Loved it.

    You're not in my "crusdader group" but I do write YA as well. Hope that's okay :)

  19. I think that his project turned out beautiful. Writing is a wonderful craft and it takes time. Sometimes I feel like I will never get finished but have to remember the feeling of completion when I am done. Nothing can replace that. I'm a fellow crusader and follower stopping by to say Hi!

  20. What a beautiful plane and an amazing accomplishment. I've been working on my wip for about two years, too. It's so close to being done (I hope!) Just waiting to hear what the last couple of crit partners have to say.

    I'm a fellow crusader just stopping by to say "hi!"

  21. I agree that we need to treat our writing like a job. I've had lots of friends think I'm nuts for my dedication with my writing. *Sigh* If ONLY they understood.

    Great to meet a fellow crusader!

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  22. Fascinating stuff, your husband building that aircraft and yes, I definitely see how writing can be compared to that.

  23. Wow, to build a plane together - amazing and fascinating! Tell us more!

    And hello from a fellow crusader!

  24. I'm a fellow Crusader stopping by to say hello. The plane is fantastic. Might be easier to put one of those together than a novel. :-)


Your comments mean a lot to me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...