Monday, April 16, 2012

Writing Habits


I’m editing and rewriting a manuscript right now, the sequel to Dancing Priest. The characters are mostly the same but the story moves in a very different direction. I think of it as an ongoing love story – but one engulfed by world events.

I read the manuscript straight through this past weekend, when we took a few days off and spent time at Lake of the Ozarks. We had a large room, with a living room and kitchen, and I read in the early morning hours while my wife slept in.

Like its predecessor, this manuscript reads quickly. It has about the same amount of emotional scenes; a couple of times my wife woke up and wandered into the kitchen area to find me sniffling. (Is it okay to cry when you read your own stories?).

I have a lot on my writing plate right now, this manuscript being the most important and time-consuming. It’s the “big” project of the moment, but not the only one:

And, yes. I do have a full-time job, too.

It seems overwhelming, and it would be overwhelming, except that I’ve made it work together. And I find I’m managing my time better than I ever have before.

In Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing, L.L. Barkat cites several principles to “cultivate and protect” one’s creative center: have goals; rest on a weekly basis; coose writer friends carefully; choose share-timing wisely ( watch whom you share your writing with, how much you share and at what point you share it); and watch for siphons – those projects and things that will drain time and energy away.

I’ve surprised myself with how closely I’ve been following these guidelines.

Two of the columns I write are about poetry, which I’ve been a lot of for years. Reading poetry is a focusing kind of activity for me.

Blog posts are often extensions of other work – what doesn’t fit in a column for The High calling may become a blog post, for example. I waste what I write very sparingly, and very little is ever useless. I keep a lot of things I don’t use immediately for future use. Not much is subject to the delete button.

A lot of what I do could become siphons, except I’ve focused them in a particular way.

All of these writing activities are helping the main project – the manuscript. Writing a poem helps focus my mind, and has even solved a problematic section in the text more than once.

I haven’t shared the manuscript with anyone yet (“choose share-timing wisely!”), and I won’t until I’m satisfied that it’s ready to be read.

And sometimes I rest. Or play.


At TweetSpeak Poetry, Lyla Lindquist is leading us in a discussion of Rumors of Water. The main discussion will post on Wednesday. 

13 comments:

Robbie Pruitt said...

Great words of advice and counsel.

Good food for thought.

Thanks Glynn!

L.L. Barkat said...

"Writing a poem helps focus my mind, and has even solved a problematic section in the text more than once"

Love that! :)

Maureen said...

I'd like to know more about your poetry-writing as a focusing tool, and especially how it helps you specifically resolve issues in prose-writing.

Louise Gallagher said...

Ok -- taking notes. Noting what you're doing and becoming mindful!

Thanks for the inspiration today.

nance said...

rumors are spreading
like rivers overflowing their banks
columns and rows of words
extensions of Grace and Mercy
fingers around fingers
hand in hand
skipping

katdish said...

Dude, you're a machine! I don't know how you manage to do so much and encourage others at the same time. Can't wait to read the sequel!

Linda said...

I struggle with the little writing I do Glynn and deeply admire all that you are able to accomplish. Thank you for sharing this. I am so desperately in need of balance!

Linda said...

P.S. I cannot wait to read that book!

S. Etole said...

You seem to put a great deal of living into the hours you have. Agreeing with Linda's P.S.

H. Gillham said...

I'm always amazed at how much writing you do.

You're good at it.

Thanks for continuing this blog -- I look to it daily.

A Simple Country Girl said...

Good night, you are organized and focused.

And I am so thankful for the time you gave for your interview last week. I learned a lot and continue to do so each time I read your words.

BLessings.

Lyla Lindquist said...

Darlene, I don't Glynn has Knight Whipperdoodle or whatever his name is to contend with...

The habits are important, Glynn. I can't claim nearly the discipline you have working for you here, but I know that a couple of quiet hours before work do me a world of good, and then grabbing moments when they come up.

Anita Mathias said...

You are absolutely amazing, Glynn. You do more writing with a full-time job than I do without one!! Blessings,
Anita