I appreciated Mary Gaitskill’s wisdom in this item I gleaned from advicetowriters.com
Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt:
“When you’re writing on the computer, you don’t cross it out, you just delete it. But now, if I’m not sure, I don’t delete it. Instead of making the revision, I just put it in a bracket and write my second idea, and I can look back and see which I think was better, because sometimes the first thing is actually better.“
Get your writing done first because it’s not easy to crank up the momentum and confidence needed to fill your pages.
After breakfast, I launched into decluttering…even before shaving and cleaning up. Not only did I feel grungy [counterproductive in its own right]
- A. I wasn’t writing.
- B. I was wasting that precious morning buzz [i.e. creative energy] on sifting through and boxing ‘stuff’.
- C. I didn’t crank out that initial ‘first 100 words’ on paper, a practice I started when I homed in on mindfully ‘showing up’ to my creative projects.
- D. I was getting annoyed by A. and B and C.
Luckily, choosing to reconnect with a former student and a former teaching colleague, I did get my keyboarding fingers moving and real words [with value, even!] danced across the screen. AND I’ve even resisted the urge to turn on the AFC Championship game. AND I’ve chosen to not answer a text message till today’s words are done. [Thank you, thank you. You can stop rolling your eyes now.]
So, I guess the lesson for today is: Don’t give up hope. You can rise above all kinds of obstacles, even the self-imposed ones, and move forward with your projects.
NOTE: If your word processor offers the ‘Focus’ feature that displays just your text–no distracting menus, programs running in the background–give it a try.
- Okay, I admit it…on my DVR, I still have 40 minutes of Hallmark’s A Happy and Friends Yule Log. Gotta say, it’s nice to watch cavorting puppies and kittens to break from the daily chaos and mayhem…and I’m just talking about my latest forays in the kitchen. Such as…
Recipe at bottom of post
2. Could someone please tell me where the TV remote is? I know, I know, one of you out there is going to snark that I’d track it better if I didn’t mindlessly pop it in my pocket and drop it off, say, in the garage.
3. I know, I know…snark is a noun. Language snobs notwithstanding, it works just as well as a verb.
4. Shouldn’t there be holsters for TV remotes?
5. And finally, here’s a very useful and interesting language website that answers the age-old teacher question of, ‘How is that word used in a sentence?’.
Sunshine Squash Pie
I picked up this recipe from denisonfarms.com, our CSA supplier.
Sunshine squash makes excellent “pumpkin” pie. This recipe comes from the 1975 edition Joy of Cooking:
1. Line a pie pan with pie dough.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Mix until well blended:
- 2 cups cooked, mashed squash (see newsletter week 20 for instructions to bake squash)
- 1 1/2 cups undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup white sugar (I usually reduce the sugar, since squash is sweeter than pumpkin)
- 1/2 tsp. salt,
- 1 tsp cinnamon,
- 1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger),
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
- 1/8 tsp cloves,
- 2 slightly beaten eggs
4. Pour mixture into pie shell.
5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 min. longer.
[Notes from TH: Blind baking the crust worked out pretty well for me. I also add lots more spice than recipe calls for.]
I ran across a very interesting item by Sarah Laskow on Atlas Obscura about writers’ approaches to world-building.
Favorite quotes from some of the authors discussed…
“I begin every story I write by drawing a map because it is only when my characters start moving from place to place that a plot unfolds.”
–Abi Elphinstone [Dreamsnatcher]
“Writing is a matter of sullen toil. Drawing is pure joy. Drawing a map to go with a story is messing around, with the added fun of coloring in.”
— Phillip Pullman [His Dark Materials]
This is a strategy I will add to my prewriting course…and will experiment with as I draft The Next Page, my current school-based middle grade novel.
Other project work…
Writing prompts for other ‘creative reinventors’.
1. Leaf blowers…the scourge of Western civilization.
2. On a similar note…I hear these bubbleheads/celebrities/semi-celebrities with the cash to buy radio time to spout their views of the world order [or disorder—take your pick]. Lately, I’ve caught myself telling them to just shut up…and it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I agree with them or disagree with them. Huh…go figure. I think I’m just tired of all the noise. [Unless, of course, it’s legit noise from cranky pantses vilifying leaf blowers.]
3. Why don’t presenters armed with PowerPoints and expert knowledge take a couple of minutes to learn how to zoom their projector’s image so the audience can actually see what the laser pointer is aimed at?
In my previous post outlining resolutions for 2020, I caught myself proudly ‘cheating’.
Of no surprise, I detoured from finishing the post to tracking down this item from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
A few key points:
- Cheat days, also called ‘structured flexibility’, can help us stay motivated.
- By reducing the guilt over breaking the streak, cheating can help us keep focused on the long-term goal.
If this works for you, make 2020, the Year of the Cheat.
Let me know if you have other successful cheats.
Happy New Year
…and if you’re reaching for an extra hit or two of chocolate, we’re not watching [or judging].