Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Just Get on With It!

I must say, one unsuspected benefit of writing a blog is that one has to WRITE. Writers do know that you have to keep writing. All the time. No matter what it is. Not only is it a good way to beat that nefarious 'writer's block' but also, it turns the action into a habit. Somewhat like singing. The more you practice, the more your vocal chords retain a muscle memory and it does become easier to produce the end result.

After one of the fabulous Bloody Words conferences in Toronto, Maureen Jennings held a morning-long workshop on writing, based on her book The Map of Your Mind. Maureen led us on many a writing exercise aimed at getting that pen moving. I have to admit, I'm often a bit of a skeptic when it comes to techniques (sorry, Maureen) however, I set pen to paper and just kept writing until time was called. And, I was pleasantly surprised to read what could have been the start of a short story. It was there, hidden until released. I'm finding that's happening now, too when writing my novel. Suddenly, I'm in a scene that just keeps moving forward into the next scene and so on and so on. What a powerful feeling that is!

So, the moral of this story is, write a blog, write a letter, write in a journal. Write utter nonsense. Write that story that's been teasing the back of your brain. Write a letter to the editor. As Susan Goldsmith Wooldrige writes in her wonderfully inspiring book, poemcrazy, "Keep writing. If you focus on your surroundings, the words may just help you be there. but if they want to take you somewhere else, follow them."

Of course, it does help to have your muses.
And, never under-estimate the power of those dangerous writing pals!

So, happy writing, whatever it may be. Just do it. And I will, too. Let's make a pact.

What books do you go to when wanting some inspiration?


  1. Ha! I think I'll write a comment and see if it focuses my mind.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Linda. Right now (or write now) I'm reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks. It's a fabulous opportunity to see how she worked her way through the books we all know.

    MJ (going to work now!)

  2. There are so many things that can seem more urgent than writing. You really have to fight them off with sticks. I like Stephen King's ON WRITING. Especially his notion of getting away from the day's disractions and taking yourself to "that far-seeing place."

  3. i have my three treasured US mystery authors who inspire me (definitely no books on "how to write," thank you)- if i was marooned on that mythical desert island, i'd require boxed sets of James Lee Burke, T. Jefferson Parker, and Martin Cruz Smith - Jim Burke for his astonishing ability to, in a single paragraph, write as well as any existent author about people and places; Jeff for stylistic capabilities of the police procedural (his Merci Rayborn trilogy is exemplary, Silent Joe is a masterpiece); Smith for his precise and wonderful capability to project character, plot, cynicism and Russian dystopia in a single sentence

  4. What an interesting assortment of inspiration. I'll add another, Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life....I kid you not. Edited by Barnaby Conrad & Monte Schultz, it's interesting to read the guest author contributions (Elizabeth George is one) and of course, Snoopy makes me laugh. And that's inspiring!

  5. As someone who writes in fits and starts (and I'm in the fits stage), I can't offer much advice except Do what works for you. But getting your butt in the chair is a good start. Perhaps I should try it!