Writing advice from Lydia Davis

lydia davis writing tips word cloud
These are my main takeaways from her extensive list.

Adapted from the essay “Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits” in Essays One by Lydia Davis…

Thank you to lithub.com for this list… 


Have a great weekend, readers. Me? Along with digital projects, I’ll be procrastinating in the kitchen…caramel-pecan-cranberry-apple pie is on the menu, as well as my first attempt at a kringle.

 

 

I should be writing. Instead, bird watching…

bird-feeding apple
I spent time watching the robins attack the golden delicious that still dot the tree. All kinds of questions arose, like…

  • If the apple the bird is eating falls to the ground, does the bird follow it?

  • Do the birds ever fly away with apple flivel left on their face, thus opening themselves up to all kinds of avian verbal abuse?

  • Do some birds prefer to dive into partially consumed apples while others opt for unsullied ones?

  • Do the robins send just one robin ahead to conduct a recon before the others decide to swoop in?

Amazing how curious and creative we can be when we probably should be doing other stuff. [I can see now why my students were ever more inventive when I had other plans for the day.]

An interesting parallel thought on the intersection of writing and bird-watching…

“Until I went out looking for birds, I did not understand how much I hungered to leave the self-consciousness of the writer behind.”

–Katherine Towler [Why Do Writers Love Birding So Much?]


Speaking of other stuff…managed to dodge the Cyber Monday craze.

Black Friday was another story, as we ‘treated’ ourselves to a new clothes washer.

I guess it was time. Neighbors fled as I approached. On Allied Waste pick-up day, some looked away as I walked by, choosing to linger over their open trash barrels. Subtle…but I finally got the hint. ;-]

Speaking of other-other stuff…

https://retirerenew.com/

https://ednotions.com/

Rants and Riffs Installment #14: In these tumultuous times, ready to take a stand…

1. I realize with the fevered divisions in our society today, this might be off-putting, but I’m sorry. It’s time…

Marzipan? Bleeaack!    **        ***

baby crying
I mean it! That faux-almond flavor is distressing to the nth degree!

2. Trying to decide if it’s worth changing my Medicare Part D coverage.

Something tells me the time I’ve spent reviewing options has cost me more in ‘life currency’ than the couple of bucks I might save on Medicare monthly premiums for the upcoming ‘season’. [It does feel a bit like open season on us doddering old 65-year-olds.]

I mean, I could be watching a Hallmark Christmas rerun in the time I’ve crafted this verbal masterpiece…

3. I guess I’m wrong, but it seems that Amazon could at least cover my tax bill for this year. The accountants think otherwise.


** Ditto spaghetti squash

*** Double-ditto sea urchin. Haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen those things inverted during my years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I’m sorry, I’d eat spaghetti squash enveloped in marzipan before dining on that poor invertebrate. [And, might I add that some people eat them with a raw quail egg. Quadruple gag!]

Rants and Riffs Installment #13: Not-so volumizing shampoo, having an eco-conscience…

megaphone

1. Yep, still waiting for that volumizing shampoo to take effect. Meanwhile, the marked retreat of the scalp line continues, unabated. Damnable Proctor & Gamble!

2, Meanwhile, in the kitchen…measuring spoons on a ring…such an annoyance. You use one, you have to wash all five. Simply takes the joy out of life. [Okay, slight exaggeration.]

3. Food shopping…not so fun anymore…

Great deal on hummus! Yes! I grab two. And then the voices kick in… “So, what’re you gonna do with that container when you’re done?” Visions of Everest-level landfills pop into my head [with an occasional appearance by that drifting island of trash in the mid-Pacific]. I put the hummus back and trudge forward.

I should be writing. Duuuhhh, I AM writing.

National Novel Writing MonthAt midnight of Nov. 1, fueled by a mug of strong Winter Blend, I started National Novel Writing Month.

I decided this would be the time I would use it to my advantage rather than snag some idea out of midair and dive in.

Some observations:

  1. The weather is not at all cooperating. It’s been gorgeous and clear and beckoning me to soak up the rays. It’s not easy to peck away at the laptop when the shafts of sunlight provide the enticement of ‘C’mo-o-on, T, you’d better get out here because you know what kind of cold and gray and dark and wet awaits you any day now.’
  2. I tried some voice-to-text to crank out the words a little faster, but it’s going to take a little practice. The character’s voice doesn’t come out nearly as readily when I’m having to assume the role via my own voice.
  3. I have a whole box of books of ideas at the ready to fuel my plot, [One of my favorites from my teaching days [If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book!  by Marjorie Frank], but I just found that keeping a ‘sharpening the saw’ file on my computer is more helpful.
  4. The doubts are there, as usual. ‘Geez, the action is dragging along.’  And ‘You need to make the main character’s pace more urgent, more manic, more frantic.’  But I am trying to plow past those doubts. So far, I’m at 8000 words, so I’m decently ahead of pace and I’m having enough fun to keep it going.
  5. To keep in touch with my character’s voice, I read excerpts from Ellen Degeneres’ book, Seriously, I’m Kidding.