A writer’s meme … from Becca for W.O.W.

January 14, 2009 § 7 Comments

What’s your favorite genre to write?
Essay. Creative non-fiction. Semi-memoir. (egads, what’s “semi-memoir?” oh, that? It’s where you get creative with your own life and events. You don’t mark it as memoir though if you’re getting it published.  Ssshh, don’t tell Nan Talese!) I love the pace and structure of good essays and creative non-fiction.

How often do you get writer’s block?

Whenever I don’t have, or have not given, myself some sort of deadline, I can just sit there and fiddle away, accomplishing nothing but “fake” writing. Absolutely pathetic.
How do you fix it?
By tricking myself into some sort of due date. Actually, this works; I relax when I’ve decided on when I’ll have something finished … usually.

Do you type or write by hand?
I type stuff that is destined to be handed in or handed over. I write in longhand for my “own” stuff. Like, in my journals.

Do you save everything you write?
No. It is sooo nice to not be married to every little thing I’ve written or tried to write. I delete. I toss crumpled paper over my shoulder.  Often. There’s a freedom to it and a trust, too, telling oneself that it can be written again, maybe written better next time, too.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
I haven’t but that’s not a bad idea. I don’t think we always see the obvious, as in re-spinning or twisting something we’ve already written. Or, approaching it from a completely different point of view.

Do you have a constructive critic?
Yes. And it kicks in when I think I’ve finished a piece. It is  a relentless, kick-ass, nit-picking, honking critic. It always wants more whittling of the piece. 

Did you ever write a novel?
Yes. Nanowrimo in November. I wrote one.
I can safely proclaim it a “drawer” novel.
That’s where it’s been since Nov. 30 which is also the last time I looked at it.

What genre would you love to write but haven’t?
Oh, that’s an easy one. I would love to write poetry, to have that mastery of word-to-image that slices off bits of things for the reader to re-see with amazement. 

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?

Mystery. I cannot build to it, cannot think that way. Which is why I am delighted by a mystery though I don’t read a lot of them unless someone hands me one and says “Here, read this.” 

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Right now … hmmm … let’s see. Three with deadlines; two articles and a book of collected “things.” Creative projects, as in no one will care if I finish them or not projects?  An essay (for fun), and a photojournal. 

Do you write for a living?
Yes. Write and edit.
Do you want to?
Yes. I would like ta writing job, though, where I write what I want to write. And I would work really hard at it, not fritter away the opportunity. Yes,  to be a full time writer of books and collections … aaaaah.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
Yes. I have been frelancing for nearly two decades. I always say I’ll give it up and have more time for my own writing BUT it IS my own writing in its way. 

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Yes. Not the National Book award or anything, but yes.

What are your five favourite words?
(of course, if asked tomorrow, all five will be different):
lush
pop  (as a verb)
murmur
swanky
bisous (kisses)

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
No. Nor have I ever used a dream or dream element in my writing.

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
If it’s a literary piece, I enjoy a cliff-hanger (thus the ending likely depends on character.)
If it’s chick lit, I’ll take the happy (corny, stupid, obvious, wonderful) ending.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen?
Yes! The first creative piece I ever did. It was in sixth grade. I had an extraordinary teacher. She asked us to write every week based on a piece of art she would tape to the blackboard. It is a device I have used ever since. Can’t write? Blocked? Take me to the Art Museum!

If you’ve answered all these questions, give yourselves a huge gold star and pat on the back.
Now go off and do some real writing.
(how about if I read? It’s really really late!!!)

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§ 7 Responses to A writer’s meme … from Becca for W.O.W.

  • anno says:

    I loved this list, and I am intrigued by your idea that setting deadlines helps ease writer’s block. I often feel like any writing project — even e-mail! — might last forever, so I can see how knowing that a project WILL end might help dissipate those fears and clear the way to actually getting work done. Also, I learned a new word (bisous). Lots of great stuff here — thanks!

  • Bellezza says:

    I enjoyed this whole post but, I especially liked your answer about the teacher who had you write about a piece of art. First, it’s so great that you had such a good teacher. Secondly, it’s so great that she taught you something you still use. Something all good teachers aspire to achieve for their students.

  • seachanges says:

    Great post oh – you’ve clearly giving it some thought and I am really impressed by your drive. My own writer’s block would get worse if I set myself a deadline – just knowing that I set it myself and it did not matter…. if you see what I mean.

  • oh says:

    Anno – You know, since you mention it, some writing projects AND email kind of go forever … but they’re supposed to be fun, right? Such a long week, even mustering a blog feels like a challenge at the moment. Are you getting lots written?

    Bellezza – I hope that teacher is getting warm fuzzies wherever she is right now … and hope she has children and grandchildren who she continues to inspire. So, somehow, we have to pass that stuff on, right?

    Seachanges – I DO see what you mean! ANd despite all personal rhetoric, I am sitting here tonight with nary a thought in my head – ugh. The 5-day work week truly seemed 10 times longer this week. Reading sounds like a good idea, then, doesn’t it?

  • jeanie says:

    So fun to be back and see your terrific and insightful answers. I feel really awful that my version of this is pretty yes-no. I should go back and redo it! But I won’t — guess I’m too tired from travel, or maybe too written out for now!

    Always enjoy these — I learn so much!

  • Becca says:

    Loved your responses to this one. Deadlines work extremely well for me, too. They must be imposed from the “outside world” however – self imposed just doesn’t cut it!

    How lucky you were to have a teacher with such creative ideas!

  • oh says:

    Jeanie – Welcome back! BTW, “yes” and “No” answers are wonderful. Clear. Direct. These memes are fun and overall, would vary on any given day we answer them, don’t you think?

    Becca – I think I still have one or two of those sixth grade stories — must go check bookshelf. And thanks for this meme – I LOVE writer and book type memes and you created an excellent one!

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