Brian K Vaughn on Writing

For those of you who don’t follow comic books, Brian K Vaughan is the creator of two very successful and critically acclaimed comic books, Y The Last Man and Ex Machina. Clearly, the guy knows a lot about writing. It is for that reason that I would like to point you to his MySpace entry on writing comics, though I think his advice is relevant to writing in general.

He starts out with some general advice: “WRITE MORE, DO OTHER STUFF LESS.” This seems like common sense, but it is good for those of us who “don’t have time to write” to read. I sometimes say I don’t have time to write while I watch countless hours of sports on T.V.

Here are some more quotes (language censored by me):

  • “Every writer has 10,000 pages of s— in them, and the only way your writing is going to be any good at all is to work hard and hit 10,001.”
  • “Oh, and “writer’s block” is just another word for video games. If you want to be a writer, get writing, you lazy bast—-“
  • “Anyway, when people ask me for suggestions about writing, they’re usually asking how to make it more fun. Well, writing might be fun for some people, but for most of us, it’s an unholy nightmare. Writing is hard, lonely, frustrating work. I hate it more than just about anything in the world. Unfortunately, the thing I LOVE more than just about anything is HAVING WRITTEN, so I have to power through the misery to get to that sensation. For me, writing is like starting with six hours’ worth of hangover to enjoy a few minutes of feeling drunk. It’s a bizarre, unnatural way of life, and not everyone’s cut out for it, but if you’re born with this wonderful, terrible addiction, you’ll recognize it soon enough.”

This part of the above quote perfectly articulates my view on writing: “I hate it more than just about anything in the world. Unfortunately, the thing I LOVE more than just about anything is HAVING WRITTEN, so I have to power through the misery to get to that sensation. ”

It is usually painful for me to write because it is difficult. However, once I have completed a project and put it out there for people to read, I get a great sense of accomplishment. Some people say they write because they have this great urge to write and just need to get things out. I’m not like this. I would be perfectly happy if I didn’t write. However, I am happier that I do write.

Anyhow, go check out his post. There is even a tidbit of advice he received from Neil Gaiman.

6 thoughts on “Brian K Vaughn on Writing

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Half the time I’m conning myself out of writing. And he’s right about the crap as well.
    “If you want to be a writer, get writing, you lazy bastards”
    Lovely.

  2. I thought I was alone on this. It seems like I always hear the “I must write to feel alive” people and less of the “I hate it more than just about anything in the world”, not that either side is bad, I guess.

  3. The 10,000 pages thing is so true. You have to push through them and trust that there’s more on the other side. Also, the just having written high is very true. I had it last night! Amazing. We’re struggling through a bitter skirmish in office politics at work, culminating in a predicted bloodbath of a meeting on Friday, and having written even released me from the stress of worrying about that! Good post.

  4. Kaitlyn, I’m glad to hear you got some writing done. I had to read your comment slowly, though, because for a second I thought you said you wrote “high” last night 🙂

    Office politics can be a very stressful thing and I often wish they didn’t exist, because that would make going to work so much easier.

  5. Pingback: Writing is Hard « The Struggling Writer

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