Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Such a Little Thing

In Escaping into the Open, Elizabeth Berg says:

If you take yourself and writing too seriously, you will sit at your computer and feel afraid to start. When you finally do start, you will be hypercritical of every line you write.

Yes, Ma'am. That's right where I've been. Smack in the middle of a too-serious stew. Ms. Berg goes on to say:

Try to keep some essential perspective: You are not performing an emergency tracheotomy. You are not deciding whether or not to drop the Bomb. You are putting lines of print on a page. And I believe if you're enjoying yourself when you put those lines down, you have a better chance of your readers enjoying you.

Remembering this makes a world of difference. My writing routine has changed since reading Ms. Berg's book. Now, I start by tightening the previous day's work. It loosens my voice, kind of like practicing scales.

This morning I came across this: Thousands of bugs circled the puny little bulb of the porch light. . .

D'oh! Puny and little mean the same thing. Delete, delete, delete. Now it's just a puny bulb and I am filled with the strangest satisfaction.

This is fun, this playing with words. They're like the Connex Evan had when he was little: you can build whole worlds if you put them together right. And if you make a mistake, it's easy to pop them apart and put them back together differently.



Jess said...

Sounds like a good book and good reminders... I'm reading some of Julia Cameron's "The Right to Write." Its good stuff.

Jenny said...

Not an emergency funny, and a good reminder to let go of fears and starting writing.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ahhh... that's the sound I'm making as I just got caught up on all the postings of yours I'd missed. How many ways do you want me to say, "me too!" 10? 100? Pick a number. That's how I feel as I read these. If there's a way to not write and piss the day away, I've discovered it!

Suzy said...

Ah, you Word Master you!

Love you,


Michelle O'Neil said...

Puny is one of Seth's favorite words. For him, it means under the weather. Feeling a little sick.

Deb said...

I can feel your glee from here!