Hello friends! Welcome to Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen at Silver Threading. Each week bloggers come together to share their favorite quotes to inspire and motivate one another to keep writing and working toward their goals. My contribution for the week is from the American novelist and short story writer, Nathaniel Hawthorn.
Nathaniel Hathorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. He changed his name by adding the “w” to hide his relation to his ancestor John Hathorne, a judge involved in the Salem witch trial and the only one to repent his actions.
He attended Bowdoin College in 1821 and graduated in 1825. His first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, published anonymously in 1828; he later tried to suppress, feeling it was not equal to the standard of his later work. He published several short stories in various periodicals, which he collected in 1837 as Twice-Told Tales. The following year he became engaged to Sophia Peabody, a painter and illustrator who published her own journals and various articles. They were married in 1842.
In 1850 he published what is probably his most famous work, The Scarlet Letter, which tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. I haven’t read it but it is been added to my “to read” list as of this writing.
Much of Hawthorne’s writing centers around New England and many feature moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His work is considered part of the Romantic movement and includes novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend, the United States President Franklin Pierce. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation’s colonial history.
Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, leaving behind his wife and their three children.
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne
When I was younger and I first thought about trying to make a living through writing I chose not just because I enjoyed writing and thought I had something to say, but because it just seemed easy. I mean they are just words that you put together in a way that makes sense and then the money starts rolling in, right? I read a lot and to me even the greatest novels felt like nothing more than someone just typing out a story and then selling it. I figured anyone could do it, I should have taken notice of everyone was not doing it.
Now I am a blogger, a very small blogger, with a very small blog and even this is hard. I realized that when I write I tend to use a lot of words that aren’t necessary and I don’t use a whole lot of punctuation that is. I realize I get side tracked and I present information out of order. I realize that easy reading sounds the way a person is thinking but it is not. Humans think in a very inefficient and confusing way. I realize that easy reading is actually very good editing which is hard, frustrating work.
I have been brainstroming some ideas for my novel (or graphic novel if I can learn to draw better) and filling in some broad strokes of story. I’ve been thinking about what kinds of interesting things can happen to my characters and what kind of bad things would make them try to be heroes. This part is fun but I am dreading the actual writing, or rather the editing. I feel like I can’t do it. I feel entirely inadequate to write anything that people might like. I can do easy writing, I don’t know that I can do the hard kind.
Then again I plan on this thing taking a few years to complete. I am learning as I go and I learn a little more everyday. I think about my story everyday and I fill in more and more. I am willing to take time to learn how to write this the right way. I am willing to do the hard writing so the reading might be easy, interesting, and exciting.
That’s the dream anyway :)