Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Start at the beginning...and when you come to the end, stop."

Wise words for such a mad little man and silly rabbit. So why do writers, of all people, not heed them? Or is it just me? I'm only a month in and I've broken the rules I lay down for my students. "Just write what comes to mind and then you can go back and fix it. The important thing is to get your ideas down on paper."

Okay, so since I'm writing about a life, I took down some stories. I've got enough to start with, but what do I do instead? I go buy books on writing. Stephen King's On Writing is the only one for which I will allow an exception - I've heard such good things about it for so long, I had to finally get it. (Besides, I got the 10th anniversary edition and the cover is that soft paper, like the skin of a peach. Top that e-readers.)

The other one is a book on Memoir writing. The three that I told myself I'd hold off on while I was at Barnes and Noble, but then bought on Amazon cause I found them much cheaper, are on character, emotion, viewpoint; dialogue; plot and structure. Now, let's be realistic, I have no problem buying books, especially worthwhile books. What I do have a problem with is how I will now let them consume more time from my writing than I should.

Do you know what I really think this is? It's not love of books or wanting to do nothing but read (though those are both true), it's procrastination. But why? I have more time now than I ever will in the next 9 months and a solid idea to run with. (Screw prepositions - who cares where they go in the sentence anyway?) I read a quote recently, but cannot find it again for the life of me. It said something like "Writers think they are blocked, but they are really blocked by the idea of being blocked." I'm thinking about it too much - I'm trying to learn all the rules before I start.

So, hopefully this blog will let me rant and rave at myself and force me to drop these bad habits and I can just get on with it. Betsy Lerner said it well in The Forest for the Trees, "Writing demands that you keep at bay the demons insisting that you are not worthy or that your ideas or idiotic or that your command of language is insufficient" (26). So here's to starting at the beginning...


  1. You clearly also need to read The Procrastination Equation...I keep meaning to but I have this same horrible procrastination problem. The irony of this never fails to tickle me.

    1. Haha, irony does a body good! Procrastination is good when I'm writing research papers only! And yet, it's all around me. Irony indeed.