Friday, June 24, 2011

Basically, Just Row.

This weekend, I will be focused on writing. And when I finish writing one thing. I will write another. I have some ideas about what I want to work on, but we'll see what comes out over the next 48 hours.

So, it is very timely that I read an old essay by Julianna Baggott, one of my literary heroes, in which she dispels a few myths about writing. Particularly, the Talent Myth and the Inspiration Myth. Here's what she says about Inspiration:
I tried to tell them -- while giving credit to all those who have been encouraging as well as those who spurred me on because I wanted to prove them wrong -- that I don't rely on inspiration. If I did, I'd like sit around most days in a hammock not writing anything at all. I'd start a lot of books and never finish them.

I explained that writing is work, that I dig in, and make stuff up then work and rework.

I have given them the old Chinese proverb, "When there is no wind, row."

But with my grad students, I go a step further. "When there is no wind, row. And when there's wind, row. Basically, just row."
I love this because, as the mother of a 5-year-old, I don't always have time to write when an idea occurs. I have to scribble it down on whatever is handy and shove it in a journal for reference later. Sometimes much later. And, when I find myself with time to write, I can't just "wait for inspiration to strike"... I have to write RIGHT NOW!

So I am embarking on a 48-hour rowing mission. I will row when there is wind and I will row when there is no wind. And, hopefully, by Sunday afternoon I will have gone somewhere with my little boat.

2 comments:

donnadcowan said...

I am right there with you! Many days feel like mommy-brain versus poet-brain, fighting it out...

Bernadette Geyer said...

Yes! Keep up the good work, Donna!