Writerly Wednesday

Things I do not have time for today: LIFE. Hence, another list post. Sorry!

Things you should make time for today (come on, even I did):

Don’t “Write what you know.” Start with what you know. You are like the hero and you are like the bad guy too. Keep making stuff up until it’s true.

  • Speaking of genius, Erin Danehy is beginning a new Writers Workshop Wednesday (ah how we bloggers love our alliteration, no?) and she started with six Tips for the Novice Workshopper. (Really, they are important for any writer to keep in mind.) My favorite:

Some people are born gifted. Plain and simple. But that doesn’t mean you are talentless.

There is a time, a season for each thing: a time to act, and a time to wait. When I forget this, I struggle to make progress with work that requires not force, but patient, gradual persistence. In this waiting season, it is as if nothing at all is happening, and it can feel as if the things that are, discourage us from continuing on. The bane of most writers’ lives, this waiting time asks that we be alone with the very things we are waiting—wading—through: doubt, stagnation, aching self-consciousness. In solitude, we are to hold vigil over our words. We turn them over on all their sides, and then tuck them away; we take them out again, and put them on the page, even when they seem unworthy of it. We trust that in their time, they will tell a whole story, beginning to end. And because it is only a season, the waiting eventually gives way to the birthing of a piece that had been incubating all along, somewhere away from our eyes.

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9 Comments

  1. Les

    I don’t have much time for life right now either, I hear ya lol

  2. LIFE is one of those annoying things that gets in the way of writing and blogging. Smack it for me? Please?

    Also, Wednesday is a good day of the week for writerly things, don’t you think? *giggles*

  3. I love that first one. Writing what we know might seem like the best course of action, but it’s when we push ourselves to think – and work – outside of the box that we can really learn so much in the process. I always find something I can relate to in every character I weave into my writing, but exploring the parts that I don’t necessarily know as well, it’s definitely broadened my horizons. I’m finishing up my brainstorming/outlining for my new novel idea now, and even though I certainly don’t relate to quite a bit of the main theme, it’s one I am SO excited to explore. Sometimes that unknown just makes the writing project even more invigorating!

  4. The third quote is interesting. I don’t tend to write creatively that way (pushing through “the waiting season”), but I remember having that experience with term papers. At Penn, a term paper was anywhere from 10-20 pages long, and I *always* had patches of struggling with them, of forcing the words onto the page, and they didn’t seem right but I was under the gun and they had to do. What was interesting was reading through the paper at the end, and those hard words melted into the easy words, and all my doubts about them pretty much fell away. It was always surprising.

  5. Time? If you know someone who’s selling it, I could sure use some. There is not enough time in the day!

  6. Love the Sherrie Peterson quote–so, so true!! I think this is why memoir writing really does not appeal to me…it doesn’t branch off into wild imaginings (although some do, and those are the ones I like…for instance, “Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston).
    Life. Bah!

  7. Les-
    I ended up staying up late to get everything done. I think I’m going to start keeping a tally of hours that Life owes me. >P

    Erin-
    I mean, why else start a day with a W?

    Shari-
    “I always find something I can relate to in every character I weave into my writing, but exploring the parts that I don’t necessarily know as well, it’s definitely broadened my horizons.”

    Yes! Me too! And that’s one of my favorite parts. Actually, a couple of my favorite story ideas (that I haven’t fleshed out yet) purposefully star characters that are extremely different from me, because I want to explore them and figure them out.

    Sonja-
    The same thing happened to me with papers! It always felt like crap (what doesn’t, at 3 in the morning?) and then when I woke up the next day (same day, technically…) magically it all sounded pretty good! I like the idea of novels working that same way… ;)

    Kimberly-
    Sorry, not gonna lie: if I found someone selling time, I wouldn’t tell a soul so I could have it all for myself!

    Sarah-
    (Technically Sherrie Petersen was paraphrasing Rachel Vail… so then I quoted both of them… Yeah, haha, it’s confusing.) But I agree, I feel limited by reality/truth sometimes, hence preferring fiction. That said, I like memoir more than autobiography, precisely because authors (like Kingston) can take more creative liberties.

  8. Thanks for the links!

  9. Joy

    I enjoyed this very much, thanks for sharing Kristan — I hope you have time for life soon :)!

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