Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Friday, April 08, 2005

Gilead

Entertainment - canada.com network:

Here's an article about Marilynne Robinson who just won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Gilead. I haven't read the book yet, but want to more than ever after reading this interview. The thing I liked best, among many things, is what she said about the process of writing books. It took her twenty-four years to write her second book.

Robinson, who moved here in 1989 to teach at the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, is also unapologetic about the 24 years that passed between her highly acclaimed first novel, Housekeeping, and her latest.

With little pressure to appease her publisher, and no desire to write another novel just for the sake of it, Robinson took her time working on Gilead. And fans shouldn't expect another novel any time soon.

"I don't feel I'm under any pressure to write a book I'm not fully interested in,' says Robinson, whose next project will be a non-fiction book. 'I think you can tell when a novel is forced ... or written under the pressure of a deadline from a contract or publisher. I have never wanted to write that way."
As a writer, I love that approach, one that seems to suggest the art of writing is more important than churning out book after book. Of course, not everyone needs twenty-four years in which to complete a book, but it bothers me that many of the best-selling authors find themselves caught in their publisher's expectation that they produce at least a novel a year. And some produce more than that. Believe me, many of those books show it.

I'm not published, so I don't now how I'd feel if such a demand were laid upon me, but I hope I'd be able to find a way to do it that didn't compromise my writing. I've been working on my latest novel for a year now and I am nearing the end of the first draft. If it's finished this year, it'll probably be in October or beyond, but even that is uncertain.