EXCERPT FROM “The View from the Cheap Seats”:
“I was, as I said, twenty-five years old, and I had an idea for a book and I knew it was a real one.
I tried writing it, and realized that it was a better idea than I was a writer. So I kept writing, but I wrote other things, learning my craft. I wrote for twenty years until I thought that I could write The Graveyard Book–or at least, that I was getting no better.
I wrote it as best I could. That’s the only way I know how to write something. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good. It just means you try. And, most of all, I wrote the story that I wanted to read.
And then, whether the work was good or bad, whether it did what you hoped or it failed, as a writer you shrug, and you go on to the next thing, whatever the next thing is. That’s what we do.
We who make stores know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.
And that is why we write.”
The above was from Neil’s acceptance speech for the 2009 Newbery Medal.
- I had an idea for a book and I knew it was a real one.
There you go. You sometimes just KNOW that an idea is a good one.
- It was a better idea that I was a writer.
Wisdom told him that he shouldn’t write this story ‘just yet’. Wow. How many of us would just blunder into it and write it anyway?
- I wrote it as best I could.
Is that not all everyone of us can hope for? To write as best we can — at-the-time?
- I wrote a story that I wanted to read.
Please yourself as a writer. Do that, and what you produce /may/ become something that will please others.
- You go on to the next thing.
Write. Edit. Perfect (to the best of your ability) — and move one. That is the single biggest lesson here. Just. Keep. Writing.
- Someone there needs your story.
The world is huge. And if you have a TRUE story to tell, unique, well conceived, and well executed — then there WILL be an audience for it. Maybe not in your lifetime. But someday. Would you deny them, that one person, in the near/far future who benefits and is changed by your story? No!Write your Story!