Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ready Set Write!

Playwright and New Yorker writer Paul Rudnick says: "As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly."


I sit here in my spot--the morning still almost young at 8:58 AM--with the timer at the ready. But what am I doing? I am shuffling photos on facebook, reheating my coffee, confessing my undying devotion to my cats, checking email, texting with my daughter about the comfort of her new boots, enjoying watching the light pass across Linda's painting on the far wall, wondering if I should eat before writing. OK. Enough.

Timer, let's go. VAMOS!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Love that Paper

Here's a good prompt poem. Take any line as a starting point and write. Remember to set the timer: 15 minutes?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Into Our Own Experience

Edna O'Brien was working in a chemist's shop in Dublin when she discovered a slender volume called Introducing James Joyce: a selection of Joyce's prose,with an introduction by T.S. Eliot.

She later said: "I opened it to a section from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the Christmas dinner scene, with the blue flame over the Christmas pudding. Up to then, I had been writing rather fancifully, with a lot of adjectives. When I read that, I realized one thing: that I need go no further than my own interior, my own experience, for whatever I wanted to write. It was truly, without sounding like St. Paul, an utter revelation to me." (Writer's Almanac)

Into our own interiors, our own experience--this is where we must go to tell the stories we can tell and to write well.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Timing Can Be Everything

On my Facebook status, I mentioned that I loved timed writings and my stainless steel timer. Several people responded to the update and by email. Here are some timing ideas, starting with more about writing:

"How long do you set the time for?" someone asked me. "One hour," I said. And I set it again if I have the inclination and the space in my day.

If I'm writing in my journal, or responding to a prompt, I set the timer for 10 minutes.

I use a timer for meditation--20 minutes. That way I'm not peeking at my watch while I'm supposed to be emptying my mind.

I time my stretches after running--1o minutes. I get distracted and stop unless I hear the timer ticking. And I get really sore if I don't stretch.

To make sure I don't eat too fast, I set a timer for 20 minutes as I'm getting ready for dinner. The timer reminds me to set the table, light a candle, sit down, and appreciate my food. Otherwise I just might eat standing at the kitchen sink.

When I'm cleaning my messy, cluttered house, I set the timer for 45 minutes. When it sounds, I stop. I can only take so much.

How do you use a timer? How might you use a timer?