The internet is bursting with writer resources. It seems that every day I find a new writer’s blog or Twitter account to add to my expanding repertoire of online stopping points. There aren’t enough hours in the day to visit all the posts and Tweets and article links, but here are two I’d like to share with you because they resounded so much with me.
Writer Unboxed is one of my favorite fiction blogs. It has several contributors (which I like because it feels like one-stop shopping), and last night’s blogger, Barbara Samuel, beautifully articulated the struggle for balance in the life of the writer. Many writers work always–all day, all night, in our dreams–and can’t ever turn our writer brains off. Once the fire has started smoldering, it can’t be contained. I’ve tried to go on hiatus, to take breaks, to allow my mind to rest–but I find it impossible. It is a driving force, a calling, an addiction.
Last night I discussed my book at a local book club–a wonderful group who had been exercising, and traveling, and dining, and living, and reading together for twenty years–and the question came up (as always) how do I have the energy to write with three little boys at home? It was very hard for me to put into words that writing is not a want at this stage in my life, it is a need. I feel imbalanced without it. I’m obsessed with reading and writing. It’s a form of nourishment to me.
Barbara Samuelson’s thoughts on a writer’s drive and balance were vastly more coherent than mine, tonight, so I recommend you take a look. Her words gave me just the validation and encouragement I needed when I read them.
Writer’s Digest publishes its magazine in print and online. It has up-to-date interviews and articles about all things connected to the world of writing. Their most recent article on plot and structure in the Writer’s Workbook section, by James Scott Bell, was very helpful. One of his points to crafting strong scene was to “Know What You’re Aiming For.” He said that “[e]very scene in your novel should have that moment or exchange that is the focal point, the bull’s eye, the thing you’re aiming at.” (p 59) I’ve often heard that every scene should count, but this made it very clear to me. It will make revising much easier if I approach scene cutting with this in mind.
* * *
Writing can be isolating, so use the resources available to you to connect with other writers and find a sense of community. There are so many journeys and answers out there that can be of use. If you have any favorite writing stops, please comment and share your gems.