Monday, March 05, 2007

When you can't write - edit ...

... and when you don't have the inspiration to write or edit your work from that day, then blog about writing. It's still writing, even if you might be avoiding adding new content to your current project. So what am I avoiding writing tonight that would cause me to blog? I actually had a very productive week-end where the stars were aligned, I "booked" an hour to write while my hubby watched the kids, plus the baby took two long naps in his crib instead of on my shoulder, so I had another two hours of writing time. I feel I can afford to be a slacker tonight with my glass of milk, a sugar cookie and the laptop. This is when it is very dangerous to contemplate buying yet another fleece pull-over from L.L.Bean, because you have given yourself permission to browse their on-line catalog, instead of choosing to be productive by writing.

Another theory that I read in an article, from one of the many writing magazines that I thumb through when I am avoiding work, is that it is necessary to allow ideas and written work to "percolate". Kind of like a good cup of coffee, the author of the article suggests that you keep a file for ideas that you want to explore through writing and let the ideas percolate. You should add to this file for several days or weeks before even starting a project. Then he suggests that after you have written an article or story, you should allow your psyche to rest a bit and then re-visit the work with a fresh, clear mind. I have to agree on that last point. I always "sleep on it" after I have written a poem or a short story. The next day I will do more editing and the cuts and changes I make are swift, without sentimentality for the preciousness of the work that we as writers all feel at some point. Our writing is so fragile, because we put ourselves on the line for all to read. By the next day (after a good breakfast) you can plow through the sentences that lack grace, cut unnecessary phrases with your delete button or red pen, and free yourself of many clich├ęs that are begging to be given the 'ole Heave Ho!

On that note of bad phrasing, I shall close for tonight. Perhaps I will write after all. A good warm up always encourages a good work out. I hear my notebook calling.


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