Friday, December 18, 2009

A Writer Writes Always....

Quiz: Who can tell me the name of the movie that line comes from?
Here's a hint.

Okay, so here's what I'm learning so far about this "writing for a living" thing. Well, okay, perhaps calling it "writing for a living" is putting the cart three miles before the horse, but a girl can dream, yo.

Lessons learned thus far:

1. When the words hit me, I am sometimes not in a position to stop everything and write. For example, a kid's chorus concert, riding in the car to run some errand, in the middle of a classic film, or when my hands are covered in flour because the baking bug has bitten me. I do, as suggested by The Cracker Queen, carry around writing implements and a notebook to capture lines, ideas, whatnot for later, but damn it all, it does irritate me when all the sudden I feel inspired or need to write and I can't.

2. The story comes to me in fits and starts, but the best part is when I am writing it with a general idea, but the details start flowing and dots start connecting as I write and I don't feel like I actually planned it out, but it works.

3. I am still not sure if the novel is two stories or one. It's semi-autobiographical and I wonder if I should pull some pieces out for some kind of nonfiction work later. It's making me a little crazier than usual and sometimes I just have to set it aside and think. And that's just dangerous.

MathMan has continued to encourage me to finish it first, then tinker. I agree. As I near the end, I find the self-doubt more troublesome, but not insurmountable.

4. I am often more in the mood to read than write. Carol of Kimonomomo had the pleasure of meeting the author Julie Powell a couple of weeks ago. She went to a reading and book signing for Ms. Powell's newest book Cleaving. I was touched when she sent me the book with high praise. "I thought of you immediately." I think is pretty much what she said. Now, I am torn, torn, torn because I want to finish my novel and I want to read Cleaving straight through.

Ah, to be troubled by such trivial matters when the world is exploding around us.....


  1. Forward to about 2:15 in this video and you'll have my comment.....

  2. Maybe you need one of those recorders like the one called Diane in Twin Peaks. Recording your thoughts when you cannot get to a pad & pencil, computer or typewriter.

    Have a nice Friday. I'm home ill today, so, just taking it easy.

  3. If you didn't write, the world would still explode. Thus, pen, say hello to paper.

    I'd love to tell you what Mathman said, but since I never follow that myself, endlessly tinkering, I'd be a hypocrite, and I decided to not run for Congress.

  4. From experience I've learned writing requires the same focus and time of a regular job. Kids, baking and leisure reading aren't allowed on the job so they must also take second place when writing.

    I learned I had a certain word count that was possible during a day - and I used that as a goal - a motivator - that plus the mental image of my desk chair having a seat belt that kept me there and writing.

  5. Anne Lamott uses 3x5 index cards. Always has a bunch of them with her.

    I highly recommend "Bird by Bird" if you haven't read it. Talks about her process and life and such. I think you'd really enjoy it (if you haven't already)

  6. What Bill said. Treat it like a job with the same rigid adherence to a schedule and inability to be interrupted that you (and your kids) would have to live with if you were a cubicle rat with a psychotic micro-managing boss.

  7. You can do it!!
    Please let us(me) know about the book, I've seen it and interested in reading it.

  8. Bird by Bird -- excellent book. Except, you're not supposed to be reading, you're supposed to be writing. I think it's all about intent -- like, are you baking because you want to bake, or because you're avoiding writing? I also just got from the library Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.

  9. Is that Throw Momma from the Train? Awesome.

    Everything you said applies to me, too. So that either makes us both losers or both amazing writers. Let's go with the latter.

    And reading great writing leads to writing great writing. So do that.

    The end.

  10. I have nothing important to say other than GO GO GO! :) Also, to let you know that every book is different, but once you finish the first, that part becomes so much easier. and also I am constantly emailing myself bits and pieces, waking up from dreams in the middle of the night and keeping myself awake long enough to repeat the lines over and over until I'm sure I'll remember (and about half the time I do!). Right now I'm actually in a reading phase, and I think that's okay, too...sometimes, for me, the writing is better when I make it beg, plead for me to put words on paper. And sometimes it's more about me forcing myself to put any amount of words down (I'll start with something ridiculous like fifty words. Anyone can write fifty words!) and then before I know it, I've reached my daily goal. Oh ,whoops, there I go trying to say important things. GO GO GO! :D

  11. Sometimes being bothered by the trivial things when the world is exploding around us is the shelter we are looking for....temporary, but ok :)

  12. My friend John always makes sure he has 3" X 5" cards and a pen or pencil with him. A good idea. As for thinking your writing is trivial vs. the bullshit going on around us. Wrong. It's kabuki, meant to distract us. What you are doing is making something real. That is much more important.

  13. i feel exactly the same about painting except it's hard to pull out that glass of water and paint brushes when the baking bug bites me....hahah...

    seriously, it's wonderful you have made so much progress...merry merry to you and yours ♥

  14. Awesome! The writing process is unique to each writer and you are on the road to discovering yours and I hope to hear more as it evolves. (Yeah, no doubt it will change.)

    Crazy exciting! Go, go, go!!!

  15. You'll find your niche with enough trial and error.

  16. I believe it. Writers write. I think ALWAYS is the troublesome part of your title. No one ALWAYS writes. NO ONE. You have to make writing habitual, but not all-consuming. Writers are astute observers of life as well, and that precludes writing ALWAYS. So allow yourself some time to be alive (and read, which is also important as a writer), and perhaps focus more on balance. The writing life is ALWAYS about THAT, I assure you.

  17. P.S. I left out discipline. Balance and discipline are key to being a successful writer.

    So I'm told.

  18. I recently wrote a new chapter, one of my best, and was sure I'd saved it. Next morning I was looking forward to reading it again and it was gone. Save save save.

  19. Sometimes it's so much more fun to read than to write--I know where you're coming from. Right now, in particular, I'm enjoying reading your blog entries. :)

    Keep it up, lady! You're a wonderful writer! :)


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