Anorexic or Bulemic?
I've just had an email from an American writer, who is thinking of entitling one of her workshops 'Your writing style - Anorexic or Bulemic?'
By this she means that writing can be either anorexic - slimmed down to such tight proportions that it is all bone and no flesh, or bulemic - a vomiting out of thoughts, emotions and sensations. The first, she roughly equates to journalism, the second to stream of consciousness.
I thought this was a totally vile concept and said so.
Many writers are already tense and uncertain about their writing style. Using labels that apply to profound and dangerous body disorders cannot help shy and nervous writers feel good about their work. I know I complain fairly constantly about lazy and sloppy writers, and wish they had more dedication and less ego, but this is a step too far.
Any creative activity can be painful, exhausting and full of doubt and insecurity. But it should also contain the elements of reward, excitement and pleasure. The arduous process of writing a short story should teach the writer about the world, about words, and about the thrill that comes from shaping a piece of fiction to achieve what they want. It should not be a process of self-denigration or negative identification. Given that, for most of us, the creative process is the only reward we'll ever obtain for our fiction, I'm opposed to anything that tarnishes it unecessarily.