There are two kinds of writers. They’re described quite succinctly by the following quote. For those of you who are writers (and for those who enjoy reading others’ work), I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy
The moment I read the quote, I knew which kind of writer I tend to be… and several other writers came to mind for whom words come from a different place. Neither is better or worse than the other, they’re just different.
I’ll admit, I tend rip most of my words from the gut, or I did before I had to start writing every day. I see now that there is something to be said about pulling some things out of our pockets now and then — like when we’re on a deadline and have no choice. Or when something needs to be said and we don’t necessarily want to go through a “gut-ectomy”. Pulling things from the gut just isn’t always practical or timely. Or necessary. Yet sometimes it’s important to process a subject, internalize it, really deal with it, before trying to express it coherently.
For better or worse, maybe both of these writers – the one who tears it from his guts and the other, who pulls it out of his overcoat pocket – need to co-exist within the same person. Maybe experience can teach us how to be both kinds of writers over time.
Internalization could perhaps take one writer’s work to an entirely new level, or the ability to not hold so tightly and just lay out some words that work could offer efficiency and volume to our body of work.
I’d be curious to hear from you. Readers, what do you prefer? “Gut” stuff? Or “pocket” stuff?
Fellow writers, which kind of writer do you tend to be and how is that working for you? Which kind of writing gleans the most response from your readers?