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  • Writer's pictureLee Murray

Do I bleed?

This question is lifted from author Sahar Sabati's informative Ask an Author series, which ran from 2015-2016 and included responses and reflections from English-speaking authors from around the globe. Since I'm often asked these questions by readers, I have republished my answers here with Sahar's kind permission.

Mostly, yes. My writing is a cesspit of blood and gore and pain. Possibly because the editor-in-me refuses to switch off, and will insist on deleting a sentence six or seven or twelve times before she allows the writer-in-me to move on. Half an hour later, one of them will rewrite the sentence anyway. With such a slow and heart-wrenching process, I definitely suffer for my art. But collaborative writing is a different story ‒ if you’ll pardon the pun. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, as writing with someone else brings its own set of problems, but there’s definitely something in the saying ‘two heads are better than one’. In a collaboration, the energy is higher and there’s a sense of shared excitement and pride. Not only is the quality of ideas improved, but there’s a stronger motivation to see the project to the end. In an example from just week, a colleague popped in to see me at 10:30pm on a Wednesday. Yes, it was mid-week and it was late ‒ she was on her way home from something and was passing by my house ‒ but we put the kettle on and started talking about story ideas. When we looked up it was 2:00am, the tea was cold, and we’d sketched out a picture book concept we both loved. The next day, we tidied the text and sent the story off to a publisher. So, mostly I bleed but on the very rare occasion, writing can be perfectly painless.


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