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Night Shade Message Boards » Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction » June 2007 F&SF » What is your daily practice? « Previous Next »

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Monica Byrne
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2007 - 08:18 am:   

Hello! I’m a n00b, just familiarizing myself with this message board. I’m delighted that this resource exists. I thought I’d pitch out a question that has been floating around in my mind lately...

About a year ago, I hunkered down to write, seeing as it’s all I ever really wanted to do. (Funny how it took me college, grad school, freelancing, and a public radio stint to realize that!) Initially, I set a rigorous schedule for myself: every month I should be 1) writing a story, 2) editing a story, and 3) [trying to] sell a story. This meant that I would write at least two hours a day, come hell or high water, and churn out stories like Asimov on speed.

But things didn’t work out that way! I found that the harder I “forced” a story, the more it suffered; rather like trying to make a flower grow by pulling it up. Instead, I sat down and waited, and watered the soil patiently; and eventually I wrote a beautiful story I’m very proud of.

So I find myself caught between two ideas; voiced, conveniently, by two of my favorite authors:

1. “So I don't worry about inspiration, or anything like that. It's a matter of just sitting down and working. I have never had the problem of a writing block. I've heard about it. I've felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I'd much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, ‘Well, now it's writing time and now I'll write.’ There's no difference on paper between the two.” – Frank Herbert, quoted on the illustrious Wikipedia

2. “What is it that prevents the ideas and visions from finding their necessary underlying rhythm?...very often I think what keeps a writer from finding the words is that she grasps at them too soon, hurries, grabs; she doesn't wait for the wave to come in and break.” – Ursula K. LeGuin, The Wave in the Mind

Now to the question, which, given all this context, is pretty simple: As a writer, what is your daily practice?
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Monica Byrne
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2007 - 08:46 am:   

Hi everyone - sorry, I accidentally posted this as a subtopic when I wanted to make a new thread. Go see there!

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