I remember reading an article once, in which someone - I can't remember who it was, but it was a writer - said that they absolutely loathed the process of writing, hated every minute of it, every time until the book was finished.
How stupid, I thought. Why do something if you don't enjoy it? It's not like the world needs more people to write books, really. Then Will Self waded into the debate, saying that he loved everything about writing - the sitting alone, the thinking, the typing, the stationery - and that it would be stupid to bother doing it if he didn't. Yes, that's right, Will Self gets it, I thought. I love Will Self.
Then today I just read Edward St Aubyn saying the same thing in an interview - he hates the process of writing. BUT he feels 'better and clearer' when each book is finished. The writing itself he finds traumatic and tiring and unenjoyable.
It's got me thinking about this question again. This is because I absolutely love Edward St Aubyn and all of his books, and I can understand why he would feel like this, considering their subject matter. Plus, if those books didn't exist - they'd remained unwritten because Edward St Aubyn didn't enjoy writing - then I'd bevery sad. So, maybe (gasp!) I was wrong.
What do you think? Do you spend time doing anything (non-essential - I don't mean cleaning or washing or the like!) that you hate the process of, because the results are worth it? I would love to know.
In the meantime, I cannot suggest strongly enough that you read Edward St Aubyn's books (although you may have done so already). I started late, with the astonishing 'Mother's Milk' and then worked my way back, then waited with baited breath for his most recent 'At Last'.
It is a well known fact that many of his books (primarily his masterpieces about the Melrose family) are based on his own experiences, primarily of his dysfunctional family and the abuse he suffered from his father. However, that really does not do the books themselves justice - they are not misery lit, because instead of misery there is beautiful writing, rapier wit and, very occasionally, flashes of beating heart.