“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
I kind of feel sorry for George when I read this. Perhaps it was the subject matter he chose? Or the onerous nature of writing by hand or typing on an old typewriter?
Personally, I don’t feel like I am compelled to write by any demons. I feel like I’m invited to enter a new world, that comes into being as I step through. For me, writing is kind of like the scene at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry finds himself in the train station. His awareness of need calls things into being. That concept is a wonderful metaphor for the writing process.
I don’t find writing to be horrible at all, and most certainly not an exhausting struggle. It’s more like an invigorating adventure, where surprise waits around every corner.
I can see how writing Orwellian books would be completely soul destroying though. Living in the head of 1984’s protagonist, Winston, for the time needed to craft that novel would be enough to suck the life right out of you. Fatalistic visions of a horrible future don’t make for a positive outlook. I hope George had some antidepressants. It’s always better to be doing a task you enjoy.