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Whatever Works

The first chapter has been an introduction to the process of writing.  There is no question that writing is hard.  Really hard.  That's likely why, out of all the people who TALK about doing it, so few ever do.  What I do know is that this very hard work can also be joyful and that's why some of us persist.

Burroway speaks to the fact that a writer needs a routine or a habit of regular writing, but there is no doubt that every writer's routine is different. I don't know what my routine will be but I'll start small with a goal to at least write five posts a week. Is blogging the new way to journal? Perhaps.

Burroway speaks to journal keeping, but she also speaks to free writing.  This is a really interesting concept.  Perhaps I'll try it this weekend.  I may even do a post in free writing to try it out. She also speaks to finding something to write about--choosing your subject.  That's an interesting thought.  I've rarely had difficulty thinking of something to write about.  My issue tends to lie in finding a way to make the story compelling and readable.  However, I do like her thoughts on how truth in a story isn't always credible. That a story you tell, even if it is true, can be found unconvincing by the reader.  Sometimes fiction can speak to truths better than reality can.  This is one of my favorite quotes from the chapter:

"A short story is a writer's way of thinking through experience...journalism aims at accuracy, but fiction's aim is truth. The writer distorts reality in the interest of a larger truth." ~John L'Heureux
She continues in the chapter to discuss reading like a writer and to discuss the benefit of writer's workshops.  Quite frankly, though I see the value of the workshops, the very thought terrifies me.  I guess I'm not quite ready to lay myself bare in front of strangers yet.  When I think of a writer's workshop, I have an odd vision of sitting in a living room adorned with lace doilies and ruddy faced farm women with poetic aspirations offering me short, sharp criticism while they anxiously look to move the meeting forward so we can finally address their, most inspired, works. That's what I imagine a writer's workshop might look like in rural Ontario.  I recognize this is hardly realistic, but can't help the thought.  It's quite odd that the first vision to mind isn't of a workshop at the Banff Centre where I'd love to spend some time in a self-directed writing program.

I'll leave here with another quote from the text that I thought was rather powerful.  I am a creature of habit and so I relate to her advice on creating habits that drive your writing forward:
"Forget inspiration.  Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you are inspired or not.  Habit will help you finish and polish your stories.  Inspiration won't.  Habit is persistence in practice."  ~Octavia Butler


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