Thursday, March 19, 2009

Work in Progress: "Every Project Should Grind to a Halt"

Light blogging for me as I try to tackle the pile of stuff that greeted me when I arrived home…not the least of which was moving many, many, many piles of books back to bookshelves after a successful painting job that left Steve living in chaos for many, many days…which explains why moving the books back is MY chore.

And then there's the stacks of magazines to at least look through (New Yorker, I love you, but every week?).

So here’s something I read in an interview with novelist Rebecca Lee in the March/April issue of AWP’s magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle. She was asked, “What advice can you offer to the aspiring novelist, or to any writer struggling to remain committed to a particular project?

Here’s her answer:

“Well, I look around and almost everybody has better habits and than me and a more productive process. Still, I guess it’s salutary to keep reminding each other that writing requires a lot of patience and drive simultaneously. Sometimes the world ‘rolls in ecstasy at your feet’ (Kafka) and sometimes it requires a bit of struggle. The mind has to really struggle to understand, and that’s important. I think it’s easy for writers to think they are doing something incorrectly when the work gets difficult, but it’s just the opposite. Each project should grind to a halt at times for the writer, and give the writer trouble. It’s also easy to forget that the work doesn’t need you to fix it, just hover over it and be attentive. Now that I have a three year old who spends a lot of the day speaking to me insistently in a language I can’t always grasp, I really understand better how to write. You just hover over the work, smile and nod even though you don’t understand it, try to be nice, and hope it all comes out okay in the end.”

For more information about Rebecca Lee, go here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.