One of my favorite recent purchases [August 2017 is recent for me] is the book, If You Can Talk, You Can Write by Joel Saltzman. [Not an affiliate link. I just couldn’t easily find how own website.]
Here are a few points I’ve revisited today in my reading session:
- “Whether you’re struggling with a single sentence or polishing a book-length manuscript, let progress be your guide, not perfection your nemesis.”
- “Along the way, you’ll develop technique, stamina and—if you’re lucky—the ability to make your next effort better than the last.”
- “Conquer your worry about not writing by writing every day—either by counting the minutes or counting the pages.” In my case, I’ve been counting the words. I’ve done so ever since the January 500 Word Challenge.
This has been a morning of displacement activities.
Here is a screen shot of my favorite so far…Rebel that I am, I ran a sheet of magnet-paper [intended for an inkjet printer] through my laser printer. Nailed it!
So I’m going to be cutting out these bad-boys and planting them on the fridge and await my wife’s reaction.
The next post…a change in direction.
The next post after that…a recipe’s instructions…rewritten.
Some are blatantly trying to undermine your efforts. Case in point: People who give you gifts like…
Others are more subtle.
When I mentioned Jon Acuff’s point about the dangers of ‘hiding places’ [daily detours from your deep-seated desire to reach a goal], one reader responded with: “But aren’t hiding places a bit fun?” Simply devious, I say, with her grasp of the truth and suggesting that those side trips aren’t so bad.
Notebooks were put on this earth to be:
- misplaced long enough to derail a writing project
- mysteriously vaporized to tank an entire project
- purchased, sorted by color, and neatly stacked in the closet so that new notebooks can later be purchased, sorted by color, and neatly stacked on top of them.
All this deep stuff about rationalizations and humanness. Let’s take a break.
Back to the practical level.
Always keep three pens and a sterilized needle with you when you’re writing longhand. Odds are, at least two of the pens won’t work or will peter out when you’re in mid-chapter, at which point the third one will avert an ugly display.
And if the third pen goes belly-up, a quick sweep of the needle across your forearm [for dramatic effect] will provide you with enough fluid to at least finish that page and get you to Urgent Care.
The last two days we covered rationalizations.
But as I was slaving [slaving, I tell you] over those two posts, I noticed the living room needed a little straightening.
That’s when the ‘I’m writing.’ rationalization kicked in. A close call. I almost pulled myself out of the chair and did something productive.
It was then I realized this tennis match between reasons for writing and not writing speaks to this: Our neuroses, weirdnesses, and just plain humanness can fuel daily inspiration, development of characters and plot, and blog content for decades to come.
And trust me, our humanness never stops.
Well, okay, until that whole persistent breathing habit stops.
At that point, progress does tend to drop off a bit.
And please, don’t get me started on cryogenics.
More on rationalization.
From the ‘turnabout is fair play’ department: Now it’s time to use your writing as a go-to rationalization…for not chiseling marinara off last night’s dinner dishes, diving into that IKEA assembly ordeal, or changing that hard-to-reach light bulb on your nightstand.
Not interested? Then you only have yourself to blame for not topping the New York Times Best Sellers list.