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Archive for the ‘The Book’ Category

Zen and writing.

In The Book, Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 3:01 pm


I know that if I spent as much time writing fiction as I spend reading books about writing fiction, I would be much further along in my currently non-existent writing career. But it’s so much easier to read about writing than it is to write, I can’t help myself. Plus, whenever I read something good about writing, I feel completely inspired to….well, okay I should say “write,” but it’s more like I feel inspired to be a writer, which does absolutely ZERO to improve my page output.

However, I don’t think it’s a total waste of time. I do learn things about the craft. And sometimes something even better. My most recent something better was from a book called The Intuitive Writer by Gail Sher, a Zen Buddhist, psychotherapist and poet. I bought it years ago, but picked it up again recently when I started my 5am writing thing to see if there was something in there that would inspire me to actually get up and not hit the snooze button. I read it little by little during my bath each night (it’s a little book with tiny chapters, often only a page or two long) and found this passage particularly helpful in my current (perpetual) angst of feeling like I’m not creative enough, that every story has already been told by someone else and/or that whatever story I dream up is only vaguely interesting, even to me. Anyway, here’s the passage:

“Despite its reputation for descending in spurts, unannounced, in ill-begotten flashes, geniune inspiration is very ordinary. Actually, becoming inspired is not something that you do. Through patience and self compassion, it is something that you allow to happen. It comes from settling down and accepting your blankness, which is not shameful…Our enemies are not stupidity, lack of talent, dullness (though these may be their facades). Hesitation and disinterest are the true obstacles to clearly hearing ourselves and our world.”

Hesitation and disinterest. Yes and yes. Ouch.

So what I’m trying to do with my little morning writing time is to show up with my novel open on my laptop and cultivate not just an interest for my work, but a love for it, even its flaws and shortcomings. I think if I could fall in love with my work (and with the blankness that I sometimes bring to it), I could start making progress. I’ll let you know.


Good morning.

In The Book on March 12, 2009 at 5:42 am


I’m trying to write fiction again. To do this, I’m getting up at 5am, more or less. Usually more. My alarm is actually set to 5:04am because that seemed a little gentler. Right now I’m working on my novel outline, which is something I’ve never done before. For all my need to be organized, I’m not an outline person, never have been. Not even for papers in grad school. This may explain a lot of things.

Anyway, I’m trying to plan this novel better than my first one and that’s harder than it seems.

I’m using the Snowflake Method to do this and I like having a guide to follow, but it’s still hard.

I’ll keep you posted.