Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to write

This whole thing is so funny and true I can hardly excerpt. But I'll try:

"Find that single cartoon frame from “Peanuts” that you keep in a box somewhere, the one in which Snoopy is reading a publisher’s rejection letter for his novel that goes, “Has it ever occurred to you that you may be the worst writer in the history of the world?” Read it and laugh. Later that day, read it again and not laugh. Feel really, really sad. Go over your notes one more time. Look at earlier drafts and passages and realize that maybe this stuff here is the lead, actually, and then if you follow that outline from seven outlines ago, it just might work. Re-read the last couplet of the first strophe of Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella. Look at those riffs in the earlier draft again and realize some are not that bad. Convince yourself that your bike chain really does need another good cleaning and what’s that gunk on the inside of the rear fender? Read the latest draft-like substance and think that, with a little work, maybe this won’t be too embarrassing. Feel mildly excited that there could actually be something here worth reading eventually. Look at the list of details again. Re-read the edited draft and start to feel better."


Cat Urbigkit said...

Okay, you're right - I laughed out loud when I read the full piece - especially the yelling irrationally at (fill in blank), kick the wall, limp, etc. Too true, this emotional roller-coaster of writing. I am currently in the active avoidance mode on a manuscript (actually more than one). This was a nice diversion.

Matt Mullenix said...

Two long non-fiction stories full of impenetrable details are mostly what I am not writing at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Write? What the heck is that? I just try to tell a story as plainly and truthfully as possible for other people to enjoy(and hopefully swap a story with me) in whatever medium is available. If some wise-arse critic doesn't like my punctuation, they don't have to read(listen) to it. I tell such folks that "I ain't writin' fer yer kind" to let them know there ARE other kinds......L.B.