Sunday, April 10, 2011

Profound Thoughts on Writing - from Chris Jones Blog

I've written on it previously, but some really interesting stuff on writing (and the process of) at the Son of a Bold Venture blog from Esquire writer Chris Jones. Since the above mentioned last post I wrote, what's really resonated with me from the blog has been the content written around something I'll call "becoming a writer, and then a great one".

First Jones posted HOW I GOT MY JOB (PART I) about... well, that. This was followed up immediately by his post FEAR... on his perspective around the struggle to get the right words on the page.

Really interesting stuff from both of these posts (and I'd say most of the posts and subsequent comments on this blog). Where me thinks the ante was upped was with a still ongoing discussion that started with the Son of a Bold Venture post LOSING'S REWARD... about the author's disappointment at not getting award recognition for an Esquire feature on Roger Ebert.

This launched a slew of interesting post comments both for and against said disappointment. People's commentary delved into subjects ranging from motivation to validation and took the various forms of concurrence, honest disagreement and snarkiness (it is the Internet, after all). In the "disagreement with writing about disappointment" category... Esquire writer Scott Raab posted a note which linked to his interesting and well written Try Selling Shoes blog post. Gist of both his post comment and blog post was that if you're doing the work you want to for a living, you shouldn't complain... at least not to people outside of your sphere who may actually aspire to your relative level.


Jones wrote I felt reasoned comment responses (including to Raab) and followed up with the post THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. This missive contained more of his thoughts on validation of writing, but also had something else. While not to discount the original (and still important) topic of what makes a writer feel recognized, it seems to me infinitely more valuable in a discussion of writing to look at what makes a writer great.

On this producing of great work subject, Jones wrote of desperately wanting something and desperately working towards it. This concept of going all in is me thinks what makes someone great at a chosen profession. Howard Stern talked about it as recently as last week in relation to radio and now Jones references it in relation to writing... it's a dedication approaching manic level need for success.

Granted, this whole discussion started around the topic of what signifies success, and the role award winning plays in that, but to me... this thing of what it takes to reach whatever level might have the shiny baubles of "success" (whether they be jobs, awards, or simply great prose), that's the big rock there.