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Author: canteywright Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 4870  
Subject: Re: Painful Writing? Date: 2/13/2002 6:46 PM
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Jim,

One of my favorite writers, Flannery O'Connor, wrote every day even after she was stricken with Lupus. She said that she wrote daily, in part, out of fear that "The Muse" would come and she wouldn't be there (at her writing table). When I have read the memoirs of successful writers or listened to their comments on TV or radio, I have come to realize how critical the discipline of writing really is.

And to answer your question: That I should just sit there until the ideas come?, the answer is yes. There are days at a time when what I write is total dreck (and this is one of them, I might add). Other days I may be able to salvage a phrase or two. On others, an idea will come that I may not have had if I hadn't been forcing myself to write.

Then, of course, there are the days I live for when it all pours out onto the screen. Joy! Would it have poured out on, say, June 17 if I had not been at the computer hammering out crap on June 13, 14, 15, and 16? I'll never know. But I'll be willing to bet that what poured out on June 17 wouldn't have if I hadn't been at the computer that day.

You also asked:
Any thought processes you use to get things moving?

Something that helps me on days when my prose isn't working, is to pick a character and begin a study of him/her. Physical attributes. Type of clothing worn. Tone of voice. Personal history including where s/he went to grade school, high school, college. Relatives. Relationship to parents/siblings, etc.

After forcing myself to really get to know my character, I often find that his/her story starts to build in my mind and I can play around with possible sub-plots. Other characters begin to emerge. Sometimes, the narrative will take off from there.

Don't know if any of this will be helpful to you, but it works for me. Beats typing "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" over and over and just hoping the muse stops by.

Cantey
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