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Thursday, May 17, 2007

So Many Ways. . .

People love to hear about a writer's work habits, judging from every Q&A session with a writer I've ever attended. Someone always asks about it. The overwhelming answer I've gathered is: Everyone does it differently.

I love having a writer's journal, where I jot down all sorts of tidbits and do writing exercises. I know a woman who has no clue what to do with a writer's journal. When we were at Goucher, we had Lee Gutkind as our teacher the same semester. Lee required that we include photocopy pages from our writer's journal when we turned in our assignments; he believes in the value of a writer's journal. After a couple of months, he excused my friend from turning in pages because it clearly was doing nothing for her (and apparently boring him to death). But she has already published a book.

Lots of advice givers say to put your butt in your chair every day. Campbell McGrath, a fabulous poet who won a MacArthur genius award several years ago, shrugs that off. He teaches college professor and has young kids, so he writes mostly during the summer--that's what was working for him when I saw him at a reading for Florida Poems.

I say, try different on different methods from other writers' modus operandi. Take what works for you, and leave the rest without a shred of guilt. As long as you're writing, that's what counts.


Blogger Joanne said...

Loved this post. Thanks for telling so many sides of "the truth about writers."

9:12 AM  

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