John August tells it like it is

Based on this interview, I work in very much the same way as noteworthy screenwriter John August.

I really don’t like writing. That’s a terrible thing to say of course, because one is supposed to love one’s art. But I’d rather do just about anything than sit down and start writing.

The thing is, I love having written. I love going back and looking at the scene I wrote. So “writing” is a necessary, painful process I go through in order to get to “having written.”

When people say, “Oh, I just loving writing!” I know they’re full of crap. They’re probably lousy writers who are regurgitating their daily thoughts in a journal. Actual writing is hard work. Even when you have the flow and it’s going well, it’s still incredibly taxing. My deepest nights of sleep are after days of having to write ten pages.

(By the way, this — answering questions for an email interview — isn’t writing. This is talking with a keyboard, which is damn near effortless. I think one of the dangerous things that’s come with the rise of the Internet is that people are confusing typing with writing. Just because your words are captured in a UTF-8 character set doesn’t mean that you’re actually writing. Writing involves carefully shaping a thought for its desired impact. Writing means anticipating the reader’s reaction, and honoring (or defeating) that expectation. Writing requires logic. Blogging just requires an account.)

Hmm, can I be a professional keyboard-talker then?

Just kidding. Sort of.

Following The Most Unproductive Week Ever, i.e., last week, I’m trying to make sure I remember that my stories and books are not going to write themselves. And even if they could, I’d still have to find agents and write query letters and send out submissions. SO I’ve got a sh*t ton of work ahead of me, and the faster I get going, the sooner I’ll find success.

Back to that necessary, painful process…

Like this:



LOL Sinfest


Robert Olen Butler


  1. Angie

    Wait, blogging doesn’t count? I wonder what Dooce would say.

  2. Well, given what she puts into hers, he might make an exception? But I don’t know, I think blogging still has a way to go in terms of gaining respect as an art form.

  3. Sean Roker

    Such a profound quote. I definitely agree, I usually say that I love to write, but editing the draft is probably one of the most tedious tasks. It is definitely worth it when you can present your finished product. Speaking of, when do I get to see yours?

    Also, google reader is amazing, considering I rarely have the opportunity to keep normal hours and we often go long periods without speaking. :)

  4. Haha, good question…

    YAY for visiting my blog!! I agree, they’re a great way to keep in touch.

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