Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Not much to say this morning, because I said oh, so much yesterday.

I have to work on some bills this morning, and get my insurance forms filled out and sent back to the union before I leave for the theatre. Our union is forcing us into one of the worst possible health plans.

I plan to edit “Christmas Treats” today – I’m already late on both that and writing Christmas cards. Usually, I can’t wait; somehow, this year, I’m not in the mood. I’ll try tomorrow morning, after my daily page quota is met. Usually, I can put on Christmas carols or Gregorian chants or whatever and get a good, solid batch done in a couple of hours.

Today’s essay on Circadian deals with the question “Why Write Poetry?”, and I agree with the author’s answer.

I sat up last night and read a book that I’m sure is fascinating to writers. It’s called My Staggerford Journal by Jon Hassler. Hassler taught for over twenty years at a Community College. He always wanted to be a writer, and began writing short stories in between times. Against everyone’s advice – including his family’s – he requested and was granted a year’s sabbatical. With so much unscheduled time on his hands, he wrote – and sold – two novels. Both novels were written and revised in the course of the year, and he sold them within ten days of each other.

His journal is inspiring. One of his inspirations is Henry David Thoreau, who encouraged, over a gulf of years, him to follow his dreams no matter what the people around him said.

And this, which is so true, where he muses about whether he could have written his novel without a sabbatical:

“The problem is that one can’t start a novel when one wants to. Rather, one has to have the time when the novel is ready to start. It’s just as likely to want to start on the first of February as on the first of June. You may be able to wait until the first of June, but the novel won’t wait. The novel is more important than the writer. The novel will go away.” (p. 54).

If you’re a writer, you MUST read this book.

That pinpointed my problem with NaNo, which I’ve had such a problem figuring out. I tried to make the novel wait. I had to coax it back. Scheduling a month works for people who have problems making writing a priority. But, for those of us who put the writing first, having to wait to work on something is detrimental rather than helpful.



At 8:55 AM, Blogger busy91 said...

How many books can I read at once? LOL! Just kidding, I'll put that book on my list.

I'm also going to add your poetry blog to my blog under other writing blogs.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Diana said...

I added it to my wishlist. I love to read journals by writers.

This quote about the book at amazon, "Hassler says he discovered early on that his journal writing had more vitality if he wrote to friends rather than just to himself," sums up why I blog. I just put more into my "diary" knowing that it's public.

Thanks for the recommendation!

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Lara said...

I will definitely look for that one!


At 11:35 AM, Blogger David Bridger said...

Oh dear. Oh, yes, I regognise this problem!

Nano was good for my story. I got 60k-words down in a straight line, which is about half the first draft, I think. Six months more and this book and I will be ready to knock on publishing doors together.

But, ah, wait a minute. There's another book - a completely different book - making my brain itch. It wants me to research it and plan it and just... aaagh... write it. Now! Not then. Now!

Uh oh. If I do the right thing and plough on with the current one, will this new and exciting one go away? Can I persuade it to wait six or seven months for me? I don't know.

I think I shall give one day per week to this new book, and see where we find ourselves.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Debra Young said...

I love to read writer's journals. I'm getting that one! And it's so true...having to wait is detrimental. I don't want to wait. I want to write. d:)

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Sya said...

Ah, that's interesting. I suppose that's why I decided to continue writing the Nano novel rather than just stop at the minimum word count. If I stop, I may never pick it up again!

I will have to look into your book recommendation--now that December is looming, it's time for some reading!

And by the way, congrats on reaching 50k a while back!


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