Sunday, March 27, 2011

On the High Steel: Writing as Instinct

Last night, I happened to tune in to the middle of a PBS documentary about the construction of Worldwide Plaza, a Manhattan skyscraper built in the late 1980s. While the material was dated, it contained some timeless lessons.

One of the story-lines in the film followed a group of Native Americans who earned their living as ironworkers. The footage of these men plying their trade was breathtaking—though not in the aesthetic sense. As a massive crane lowered steel I-beams into place, the ironworkers strolled along girders some 40 stories above the street, without any safety lines or net of any kind. Watching them, it seemed to me that this fearlessness came from a life spent doing their work—practicing their craft—over and over, until it became instinct or habit.

I've found the same to be true of my writing—that is, when it's going well. I wonder if other writers share my experience.

Please share your comments.

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