What is that sound you ask? I am banging my head on my desk. Why? I have an addiction to pain. Life is about pain management. Writers must have extraordinary threshold for pain. The deadlines are often too short. Editors change documents beyond recognition.
Did I mention the submission process? There is a significant chance the proposal or draft will face rejection. Some writers collect their rejection letters. This whole process reeks of insanity. What a wonderful world. I can smell the psychological scarring.
Apparently, I am not alone in my angst toward writing. Novelist and journalist Anna Quindlen offers her take in The Agony of Writing. Quindlen is a very successful columnist and has published several books. Despite this, she has to force herself to write. According to Quinlden, “I hate to write. I have to force myself every day to sit down and begin.”
She offers a method to her madness by establishing a routine. “I convinced that there are only so many words per day in the human body: if you do some longish emails and a few tweets, you feel done.” She has developed coping skills for the craft. There so much I need to learn.
On another subject, the Pulitzer Prize Board declined to award a prize in fiction. Novelist Ann Patchett voiced her concerns in And The Winner Isn’t. Patchett’s essay emphasized the importance of fiction in our society. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps. The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost.
Georgetown Professor Maureen Corrigan offers different perspective regarding Pulitzer Prize controversy. She served as one of the jurors that recommended books to the Pulitzer Board. According to Corrigan, there is a flaw in the awarding the prize. There is no crisis in American literature. Corrigan offers a few recommendations to reform the process in No Decision on Fiction Prize Exposes Flaw in Process.
Among the proposals, Corrigan suggests that the winner is selected by a plurality and not a majority. From her perspective, this would avoid gridlock. If this is not a practical solution, she proposes that the jury (which consists of literary experts) can select the winner. The jury reviewed over 300 novels and short story collections to decide the nominees.