Fort Minor has a song titled Remember the Name. If you get the chance I’d suggest digging it up to listen to it because they break down 100%. Now, for them they are probably talking about their music and career, but in listening to the song I have come to realize the reason I am probably so enamored by it is because I can see similarities between their song and writing.
In the song they break 100% to this:
15% Concentrated Power of Will
10% Luck – From my limited perception, I believe the luck comes into play more with timing of when writing finally goes from application to results. For some this means self-publishing, with others it is finding an agent or a publisher. Whatever the case the luck is the manufacturing of circumstances turned in our favor and we’ve become wise enough to not only perceive the opportunity, but to grab it.
25% Skill – Skill, some people call it talent, and to be honest I’m not sure there is much of a difference depending on the medium and your age. Let’s be honest, the 9-year-old girl who can sing pitch perfect has talent the rest of the singers in their late teens and early 20’s have a combination of talent and skill, while the older generation has the skill to capitalize on it. Anyone can write, but writing well takes time. It can be developed but only with…
15% Will Power – Anyone with talent will never go far if they don’t have the will to take it up in two hands and run laughing for the hills as if they were on fire. I tell my kids all the time, if you truly want something, you have to work hard, concentrate, and push to make it happen.
15% Pleasure – I battled with the percentage for this one between 15 and 20%; I can see an argument for either, but ultimately math won out. In my opinion, if you don’t enjoy the act of writing, of producing stories and adventures… why are you doing it? Seriously, we have to enjoy the process to keep going after it. I believe this is the case with any profession or hobby that someone wishes to pursue. Enjoy it, enjoy life. It’s the best advice I was ever given so I pass it onto you.
35% Pain – Yes, pain. I could probably go on for three days straight about the pain that comes with being a writer. The agony that can accompany it, which is probably why I believe that all writers are hidden masochists (defined as: A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences) because we continuously subject ourselves to a level of emotional, mental, perhaps even physical pain so we can get that annoying impulse to pour our souls onto the paper out of us. Why? Because we give it to other people to read so they can pull our heart out through our chest!
Seriously, I again have to ask, what in the world made me want to pursue this hell? For 15% of pleasure? 25% skill? No, probably not. To be honest, there are nights when I stop and ask myself. “Really? I mean really?”
Yes, really. Despite the bitterness that may be coming through my post at the moment, I’m not that bitter or angry, nor am I feeling dispirited. Actually, I’m feeling quite empowered, which allows me to give a serious look at my writing. I’d rather be efficient than stumble around in the dark and frankly, I’m tired of not being published.
Recently I have made a vow to myself to keep pushing for changes I want to make in my life. I’ve stuck with writing for 18 years, if I can do that then damn, I should be able to do anything.
So now I have to ask, how would you break down the amount of effort it takes to write between luck, skill, will power, pleasure, and pain?