July 23, 2007

Motivation on a Monday

Wild About Words is wild about The Oprah Magazine this month (and every month). In the August issue, from page 156 – 166, there’s a special section for writers.

Here are a few gems from that section:

Walter Kirn: “At the beginning of a novel, a writer needs confidence, but after that what’s required is persistence. . . Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It’s the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down. This usually happens in chapter five . . . Stopping to think is fine for characters, but not for their creators. They have work.”

Joshua Ferris: “It takes no particular human quality for one to become a novelist save this: the ability to endure long stretches of time at one’s desk. Not even that: Short bursts of intense time at one’s desk will do. You don’t even need an actual desk. You can be at a desk on the subway. You can be at a desk in the bathroom stalls. Wherever you give yourself over again to sustained meditation.”

And this, taken from Walter Mosley’s book, This Year You Write Your Novel, in which he talks at length about writing, rewriting and keeping the faith: “The first thing you have to know about writing is that it is something you must do every day. There are two reasons for this rule: getting the work done and connecting with your unconscious mind.”

About beginning a novel, Walter Mosley writes: “The only thing that matters is that you write, write, write. It doesn’t have to be good writing. As a matter of fact, almost all first drafts are pretty bad. . . . Don’t stop writing for any reason. Don’t stop writing. Don’t stop . . . Don’t.”

And this wisdom about avoidance: “Procrastination is an author’s worst enemy, but there are others: the writer who suddenly has chores that have gone undone for months but that now seem urgent . . . the Good Samaritan who realizes that there’s a world out there that need saving . . . Forget all that. Save the world at 8:30 instead of 7:00. Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walks. For that time you have set aside to write your novel, don’t do anything else.”

May I humbly add that there is a book waiting to be born that only you can create. Go ahead. Write it. Now.

Happy writing trails,



Anonymous said...

A friend of mine, Jeremiah Healy, who has a slew of mystery novels to his credit, once told me to write a page a day. At the end of the year, he said, you'll have 365 pages. I think it's good advice and I'm happy to pass it on -- because i sure haven't been using it!

Stephanie J. Blake said...

I love your new blog! And your book cover is wonderful!!!


Danette Haworth said...

I'm with you on the chore thing! Just pull that shirt out of the hamper--it's good for one more day!

Dan R. said...

I was thinking . . . if, as toddlers, we had procrastinated while learning to walk, to the same extent we procrastinate when writing our stories and books, most of us would still be riding in our strollers. Now -- to practice what I preach.

Dan R.