Archive for November, 2013

It’s All Happening so Fast

Friday, November 29th, 2013

throwing bookAfter spending a stretch of time with a book – nightly sessions often right before bed – picking up a new book immediately after another’s completion can be a bit of an assault.  No matter how attractive the new hardback, it suffers merely because it has a different tone, temper, voice from the other.  There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just not the same.  And yes, in time it might prove its worthiness but sometimes it’s better to dabble in some froth while you work on moving on.  Something glossy, with little commitment, the appeal strictly superficial.  Like magazines.  If the case is particularly acute, from there you might consider short stories.  Only then risk the commitment of a new tome.

In Praise of my Writing Group

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I’ve already sung the praises of my writing group but I’m not going to let that stop me from doing it again.  There is the obvious advantageSnoopy writing of getting considered feedback on your work on an ongoing basis, and I would never diminish that benefit, but the less frequently sung advantage of a writing group is that it keeps you writing even when unmotivated.  In the case of my particular group, part of it is the homework assignments (which most of us carry out in the context of the material we’re already working on) but a bigger part is an expectation to write.  It’s akin to the commitment value of announcing you’ll do a certain thing and so facing public scrutiny if you don’t.  In the case of a writing group, at the end of the day, how can you be a member if you’re not in fact writing.

In Praise of Writing Retreats

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
The view from my "writing" room

The view from my “writing” room

Last weekend I had the good fortune to be in a beautiful but isolated place with lots of time on my hands.  I can’t remember when I last got so much writing done.  I like to think I’m fairly disciplined and focussed person (although less and less so) but it’s amazing how much easier it is to be disciplined when not faced with distractions.  I wasn’t even all that tempted by my book – Saturday by Ian McEwan – which, while very enjoyable, is not an easy read.  Writing my book in comparison could even be considered a break.  So if a writing retreat – you know, the formal kind with facilitators and evening poetry readings – is not available to you, you might want to consider self-imposed exile.  Just don’t forget to pack your laptop (or other writing instrument of choice) but leave the page-turner at home.