Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Writer's Question

Please tell me , all you  inspired writers, what
keeps you focused to write what you write
To create a story, and choose the plot
that captivates the reader , and
holds ‘em  close, like prisoners caught
Is it the sentence you make
or words you spell, perhaps
punctuation—a comma,
the period, or question mark ?

Please tell me ,  all you inspired writers, what
 keeps you going both day
 and night, what keeps you
focused to write what you write;
Your ideas flowing like a
river flowing  toward the sea
about long ago places, and distant land; People
of history, Mystery
Crime fiction, non-fiction, science fiction
of faith, wee faeries, family
and friends

Please tell me, all you inspired writers, what
keeps you focused to write what you write
How  you decide  between dialogue
 and narrative , and
descriptive thought
 And  the story's  beginning,  middle,
and end.   Who is protagonist ?
antagonist? Is your character complex,
or easy to grasp

Please  tell  me, all you inspired writers 
what keeps you focused to write what you write

I believe  that’s the question many of us aspiring writers ponder, and ask , “How do we keep focused on our writing?”  There are a  hundreds , maybe thousands of books and magazine articles to help answer the question, but one I find helpful  is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  In  her chapter, No Hindrances she writes , “when you accept writing  as what you’re supposed to do, after you’ve tried everything else  - marriage, hippiedom, travelling , living in Minnesota or New York, teaching , spiritual practices—finally there’s no place else to go. So no matter how big the resistance, there is one day, there is the next day, and the writing work ahead. You can’t depend on it going smoothly day after day. It won’t be that way. You might have one day when it’s superb, productive, and the next time  you write  you are ready to sign up on a ship headed for Saudi Arabia.  There are no guarantees. You might think you have finally created a rhythm  with three days running, and the next day the needle scratches the record and you squeak through it teeth on edge. 

See the big picture . You are committed to writing or finding out about it. Continue under all circumstances. Don’t be rigid, though. If one day you have to take your kids to the dentist when it is your time to write, write in the dentist’s office or don’t write. Just stay in touch underneath with your commitment  for this wild, silly, and wonderful writing practice.”

Another book I find inspirational, and encouraging   whenever I begin to doubt my writing is Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle .  While L’Engle is author of several books,  including her memoir, A Circle of Quiet, she may be best known for her young adult fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time.   In Walking on Water she  writes, “ Since time was created, had a beginning, and will have an end, it is a creature with whom we can have understandings. All artists ( writers)  know days  when time collaborates with them, and they can do more than they can do in one day. There are other days when they are equally diligent, and yet get little or nothing accomplished.

Perhaps one of he saddest things we can do is waste time, as Shakespeare knew when he had Richard the Second cry out, “I have wasted time, now doth time waste me.”

So there you have it, writers  - those of you just starting out, and those of you who have been writing for years ,  don’t be discouraged when your pen runs dry, persevere.  Grab another one ,  and write  on ! write on !


elizabethbrinton said...

I keep a charcoal drawing over my desk, not where I write, but where I pay bills and answer mail. The drawing is of a skeleton, produced by my son for an art class in college. He titled this work: "Alas, poor Yorick." I keep this on my wall for two reasons;it reminds me that time is finite and that I must not procrastinate. Secondly, I love the fact that I raised a son who quotes Shakespeare.

Jennifer Rova said...

Loved your poetry! I admire people who can write such engrossing prose. Your point of wasting time is one of my pet peeves and one I do to perfection. I get angry after I realized I have wasted several hours but then repeat it a few days later.