The Writing Life

At the start of each new class I teach, I try to get the students to think of themselves as writers. Not merely “learning how to write” or going to be a writer “someday,” but a real, serious writer now.I ask them to think of themselves as pros because I know it will be hard some days. Loved ones won’t understand. Children will interrupt. Housework and other distractions will tempt.
I also tell students to consider the space in which they write. Does it reflect a serious writer’s space? A writer’s work area needn’t be a fancy studio (athough it would be nice) but it should be a place where you can get lost in your word world without too many interruptions. Control what you can: if you require quiet, boot the TV/radio/Ipod. If you require background noise, at least stick to instrumental music or white noise.
The point is that writing has enough hazards without the writer herself adding to the steepness of the learning curve. Get serious about producing writing on a regular basis, the way a “reaal” writer does. And produce your writing in as inviting a space as you can get.
Writing Tip for Today: Marge Piercy’s wonderful poem, “For the Young Who Want To” http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/for-the-young-who-want-to/sums up the resistance even serious writers meet from family and friends. This week, take a look at your attitude about yourself as a writer. Do you take your work seriously, as a pro would? How about your loved ones? Are they prone to seeing what you do as a hobby, like knitting? Finally, what does your writing space say about you? Reevaluate your attitudes in these areas and adjust so that you see yourself as someone whose work is important. Because, dear writer, it is.

1 comment on “The Writing Life

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