Le Guin’s National Book Award Speech

The National Book Foundation presented Ursula Le Guin with a Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.”

Why Blog?

I kept various blogs for thirteen years. I enjoyed it tremendously. It connected me with some wonderful people, brought some new friends in my life, and allowed me to connect with the people in my neighborhood and city.

Blogging allowed be to write as a hobby, albeit a trivial sort of writing.

I decided I wanted to challenge myself as a writer, so in 2010 I participated in NaNoWriMo. I successfully completed NaNoWriMo four years in a row.

At the beginning of 2014 I decided I was ready to attempt to write a full-length novel. In September, 2014 I wrote THE END on a novel clocking in at about 95,000 words. They’re not very good words, and it needs substantial editing, but hey, I made it to the end, and I managed to enjoy the process while I was doing it.

In order to write all those words I gave up my blog. I was spending too much time on the trivial process of blogging and not enough time on the slightly less trivial process of writing a bad novel.

While I still have a lot of editing to do on this work before I move on to the next novel, I was at a bit of a loss after I finished it. Should I do NaNoWriMo again? (I decided not to.) Should I set myself a goal in 2015 like I did in 2014? If so, what sort of goal?

Ultimately, my answer was to write more and write better. To that end I decided to blog again, but this time it would also serve as as way of publicly tracking my progress. I’ll keep updates in the column. The idea being, I suppose, that if I fail to meet my goals I will have publicly shamed myself.

My goals for 2015 are pretty simple. I want to write 5000 words a week. I’ll post the updates on Mondays. I’ll also keep track of my editing. It’s not enough to put the words down, I also want to make them hang together in a decent way.

So, that’s the point of this blog. And, who knows? If I ever manage to churn out anything half-way decent I’ll post it here and you can tell me what you think. I’ll probably do another novel next year (but not until I finish editing this one), but I’m also going to start working on some short stories. We’ll just take it week by week and see how it goes.

And THAT is why I blog.

The art and science of imaginary solutions