Monday, March 21, 2011

Advice about writing from Cory Doctorow

An interesting article about how not to get distracted while writing by the writer Cory Doctorow. I tend to agree more with him than with Jonathan Franzen, if for no other reason than Cory's life seems to be more like my own, filled with interruptions and distractions at work (while I am doing my scientific writing) and filled with daily-life things when I am at home. I do as he does--I find at least a half hour each day to write--in most cases a blog post, but sometimes a poem or the beginning of an essay or a story. His philosophy of writing one page a day works for me. But he is remarkably productive as a full-time writer. I am just writing in my free hours outside of my regular job and manage one blog post per day or every other day. I wonder what it would be like to be a writer full-time. I'm betting there'd be lots of deadlines and that the occurrence of writer's block might hit more often than one would like. Writer's block has happened to me a few times this past year and it's not pleasant. It feels like everything has dried up and that there aren't any more ideas and that there never will be. Of course this is not true, but it feels that way when you are experiencing it. The best thing to do is to just relax and do something else--take a walk, read a book, watch a good movie, have a good conversation. In this way, your mind gets stimulated again and then it's possible to be in touch with some new ideas. There has to be inspiration. If you write, you cannot live in a vacuum, cannot seal yourself off from the rest of the world all the time. But it helps to have some alone time when you are actually writing and need quiet time. But some of my better poems have been written on subways, trains and buses, in the midst of throngs of people and lots of noise, because I was watching the life outside the windows go whizzing by and it triggered a thought which then triggered another thought. And so it goes......

Here is the link to Cory Doctorow's article:


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