Thursday, June 14, 2012

Advice for Writers: A Worth-While Interview and MoreProjecting Away

Before I get into my little bit about writing, I want to recommend an interview by Carol Covin (Granny Guru, author of  Who Gets to Name Grandma-- online at Carol also writes on her website most notably an amazing blog entitled "New Grandmas Rock" ).

Carol interviewed Lake Ridge author Nancy Kyme (author of Memory Lake--online at, and also available on and Barnes and If you don't have these two ladies' books, log off now and go to their websites or to Amazon or B&N and order yourself copies for you and all your friends).

The ostensible subject of the interview is Anne LaMott's book on writing, Bird by Bird, but Carol and Nancy share their own insights into writing as well. They talk about the book and about their writing with charm and grace, which is much more than I can manage. It's well worth a listen:

OK, then, here's my paltry contribution on the subject for this week:

I seem to have fallen into a number of long term projects which I have written about occasionally on these pages. One was going through my father's household belongings and selling, giving away or keeping them. This took me from about last August to this February. In a sense, I'm not finished because I still have to integrate his tools into my tool collection and cull the duplicates. I think I presently have four caulking guns.

Then there was my attic insulation project, which ran from last August until about this April. I'm pleased to report that the upstairs is not as hot as it has been other summers so all those R values are above my head working away.

My fence project has about two sections complete with a third underway. I ran out of materials Friday and did not want to brave Home Depot on a Saturday. It waited until Monday.

My point is that a lot can be accomplished over a period of time with persistent effort. I was thinking about this in conjunction with a novel I have begun. I wrote an abysmal one-character novel in which nothing happened about twenty years ago. No one will ever see it. I wonder why I haven't burned it. But this time, I'm already up to about ten characters and I'm writing about something I know about. What a concept!

And I know from my first attempt that it's a matter of keeping after it day by day. Already I find myself wanting to get back to work on it when I'm working on tool organization or fence building. I suppose the writer has to be the most enthusiastic person about what he or she is writing or else no one else will care. I grew used to being the most enthusiastic person in the room about literature when I taught English in high school, so this is not a new role for me.

I was reminded by some writer friends to practice what I preached when I taught creative writing years ago: write what parts jump out at you, don't think you have to start at the beginning and write to the end (start anywhere and jump around if you want. No one will know when it's done) and expect to revise, revise, revise. Thanks to my friends who reminded me of these important truths. You know who you are.

As for me, I have to do some research now to make sure the details are right. What a glorious project this is!

1 comment:

  1. "write what parts jump out at you"...maybe the best advise I've read, regarding writing.

    Thank you.