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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest Post: All the Pieces by Lindsay Edmunds

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One midwinter evening, I went to a talk given by a master gardener at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. This woman spoke for an hour while building miniature gardens, casually, as if with her mind on something else. She was not speechifying, just talking.

She mentioned her husband and daughters in passing—everything was part of everything else—while those gardens flew together under her hands. Her audience of about thirty-five people was rapt and silent.
That’s how to live your life, I thought, with all the pieces part of a whole.

I used to pretend the creative piece of myself did not matter. That did not work. The exhaustion I felt at the end of the day was the bad kind of tired, a sense of being drained and wanting to hide from the next day’s draining. It was not the good kind of tired that comes after labor on something wholly engaging.

In pursuit of the good kind of tired, I published one novel and then another. This year I set a goal to write more and publish faster.

My vibe is slow and steady, but slow and steady gets it done with persistent effort. Persistence is the key.
What helps? Routine. Time management. I recommend Tomato Timer and Antisocial.

For inspiration, two good books are If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland and Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Ueland and Bradbury's subject is passion, not success, though by kindling one, you may arrive at the other.

A terrific book for storytellers in any medium is The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. We are, he says, hard-wired for story.

My nemesis is resistance. I do not understand resistance. Habit and routine are its enemies, but it is tough as a weed. What are your remedies for it?

LEdmunds_photoLindsay Edmunds is the author of two novels: Cel &Anna: A 22nd Century Love Story and Warning: Something Else Is Happening.

Warning: Something Else Is Happening has e-beasts, a Networld war, a letter from a dead man with a clue to the "something else" of the title, and people trying to live their lives in the midst of it all.

4 comments:

  1. Writers -- how do you work with your inner Rumpelstiltskin -- that cranky, unnamed spinner of straw into gold? Consistent effort, yes, but what else is needed?
    When I am stuck, I get, consistently, a breakthrough from eating some candy corn. This is a last-ditch measure; if I did it regularly, I would be size of the golden arches. But it works.

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  2. I'm still figuring it out!. I really enjoyed your post this morning. Thanks.

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  3. I read If you want to Write by Brenda Ueland a long time ago. Excellent book. Candy corn? That's a riot, Lindsay. My remedy: a piece of dark chocolate, sometimes a glass of red wine, and then go on and do it anyway ... the writing I mean!

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  4. Christa -- dark chocolate is good for body and soul! Agreed about "do it anyway." I have a card with those words written on it taped to my main computer monitor.
    If You Want to Write is a treasure. No wonder it is still in print after 80-some years.

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Erudite comments from thoughtful readers