Wednesday, August 22, 2012

William Kenower

The World of Ink radio network
The Write Step with R Jeffreys -- Talk Radio -- Live!

Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine,  lecturer and writer 

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My esteemed guest is the Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine, a writer, and a lecturer, William Kenower.  Bill and I will be discussing the writing process and the just released compilation book of his most excellent essays written for Author magazine, Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion

In Bill's own words, "Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, interviewing or speaking to groups, I am always interested in the intersection of creativity and everyday life. Everyone is the author of their own life; some of us write that life with a pen."

Please join us for a lively talk on what we love about the craft of writing!

This a reprint of Bill Kenower's essay Four Reasons,” from his recently released book “Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion,” which he so graciously shared with me and my audience during our interview. 

Four Reasons

I don’t think writing is intrinsically hard. I understand that people find it hard all the time, as have I, but there are always reasons for this, and by my count, usually one of four:

1. You don’t actually want to write. Maybe the idea of being a writer appeals to you intellectually, but the writing itself brings you little actual pleasure. There is no crime in this. There are lots of things in the world to do, and writing is by no means the noblest. Find what you truly love most and do it all you can.

2. You are writing the wrong thing. You think you should write something commercial, but you want to write something literary; or you think you should write something literary, but you would rather write a thriller. Or you are trying to write what you think will please an agent or an editor or your writing group or your mother. You are the only one you need to please, and anything can sell, and people don’t actually know what they like until they see it. In short, everything is on the table, so pick what makes you happiest, what comes the easiest.

3. You are impatient. No matter how disciplined you are, there is no forcing the river. Whether you write two drafts or ten, you have no choice but to allow the work to come at the rate it wants to come. Patience is required not just to see long projects like novels all the way through, but sentence by sentence. Sometimes waiting another thirty seconds for the full idea to bloom can make all the difference. And oddly, I have found that the more patient I am, the more I am willing to wait, the quicker the work comes.

4. You are holding two contradictory ideas. For instance, I want to make a nice living, but nobody reads my kinds of books. I love to write, but the publishing industry is capricious and uncaring. I love to write, but I’m just not talented enough to be published. One idea is going one way, the other idea is going in the exact opposite direction. You in the meantime remain stuck between these competing ideas, convinced they can both be true. Choose what you want to believe and believe only in it, evidence be damned. Evidence, in my experience, changes precisely to align with whatever I believe the most.

You can click here to purchase Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion on Amazon.

Praise for Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion

"Bill Kenower writes with great insight about writing, but Write Within Yourself is about far more than the act of putting words on paper.  It is about passion and creativity and knowing yourself, about the joy of chasing plastic bags caught in the wind and the fear of writing something that doesn't feel like you.  Like Brenda Ueland's classic If You Want To Write, this is a book you'll want to keep on your nightstand or desk, always available, ready to inspire you."

—Erica Bauermeister, bestselling author of School of Essential Ingredients.

“Write Within Yourself is not another how-to-write book, thank God, but something much more crucial to writers: a why we write book.  These thoughtful, insightful, and downright lovely essays on writing – and life – show that Bill Kenower gets what it means to be a writer.  This is a book to keep nearby for whenever your writer-spirit needs feeding.”

—Deb Caletti, author of the Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, and He's Gone.