Reading on Writing

Creation is a bitch, so I refer to the experience for a little push and shove into the right direction. Thank God for adviceforwriters.com!

Here’s one piece of advice that I once attempted, but never quite fell through with consistently.

Sarah Waters: On being disciplined…
Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Lots of writers get a bit OCD-ish about this. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words a day. Jean Plaidy managed 5,000 before lunch, then spent the afternoon answering fan mail. My minimum is 1,000 words a day – which is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like shitting a brick, but I will make myself stay at my desk until I’ve got there, because I know that by doing that I am inching the book forward. Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish – they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better.

Apart from this blog (and the other, which is two weeks lagging in shows), I need to utilize all the empty notebook space with some discipline. The answer to writing is writing, but what will keep it is discipline. And the best partner to writing with discipline?

Jennifer Egan: On being willing to write badly…
[Be] willing to write really badly. It won’t hurt you to do that. I think there is this fear of writing badly, something primal about it, like: “This bad stuff is coming out of me…” Forget it! Let it float away and the good stuff follows. For me, the bad beginning is just something to build on. It’s no big deal. You have to give yourself permission to do that because you can’t expect to write regularly and always write well. That’s when people get into the habit of waiting for the good moments, and that is where I think writer’s block comes from. Like: It’s not happening. Well, maybe good writing isn’t happening, but let some bad writing happen… When I was writing “The Keep,” my writing was so terrible. It was God-awful. My working title for that first draft was, A Short Bad Novel. I thought: “How can I disappoint?”

Fear has been said to be the mind killer. I think it’s also an article killer. I’m guilty of reading several magazines and/or their corresponding websites to get some stroke of inspiration to write like them, but I get otherwise. Procrastination may be 90 percent writing, but for me, it’s sometimes 70 percent hesitance.

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