Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kent Haruf speaks the truth

I heard a wonderful excerpt from an interview of the now deceased author Kent Haruf.  He said that in his experience there is no shortage of creative writing students with talent.  The shortage is in creative writing students who are willing to put in the work required to write something truly good.

It was a fine articulation of a truth you must come to terms with if you plan to succeed in the arts.

I spent a month writing a short novel.  I’m finishing up the first draft now, probably by Friday.  60k words written as fast I can go.  The next part is where the work is.  I’ll have to take that mass of gobbly guck and refine it into something worthy of your time.  That’s a lot of work.  It’s so much work that the first draft of the short novel I wrote last year sits idly on my hard drive, taunting me, telling me I’m not a pro yet because I’m not willing to go back and do the hard part.

Thousands of people finished novels during NaNoWriMo this year.  I suspect that the published results will show Mr. Haruf to be correct.  Only a few of the authors will be willing to put in the work required to write something truly good.

I expect to be one of them.

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