Friday, September 07, 2012

Writing and Crazy-Making Lives

Writers lie. The very best ones lie extremely well. We make things up for a living. One of my favorite lies--because of the solemnity with which it is delivered--is when a panelist looks at his adoring audience and says "I write every single day."

I do know a few who do. But the truth of the matter is very few writers manage to work while they are attending conferences. And we do occasionally succumb to flu, colds and heavens knows what. Most of us wilt under the stress of a family crisis.

One of my many blessings is a lively extended family. A mini-bluegrass jam calls me away from my pseudo solitary life every time. I'm an avid knitter, and rarely miss my weekly group at Barnes and Noble.

When I lived in Kansas and had to drive everywhere, long hours on the road kept me from getting a single word on paper.

However, what has always worked the best for me is a quota system. Five pages a day, five days a week. That's why I've switched to supplementing with pen and paper.

I can't use the excuse that my computer wasn't available. I can, if I will, just produce those pages. It's a matter of developing the ability to compartmentalize exterior turmoil. Just doing it keeps the thought process active. It's like adding yeast to starter dough, even if one can't bake that day.

A great deal of my life is by choice. I'm cursed with excessive curiosity and love new experiences.

What draws you away from your computer and makes you crazy?

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