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[personal profile] wordstitch
I've been trying to write at least an hour every day, but the past three days have been sick days for me, so I've mostly outlined in notebooks and read a lot of writing books. Yesterday I did nothing, basically.


Today, too, has been an unproductive day, but I managed to finish For Writers Only by Sophy Burnham. I love to collect writing books, but I must say this is one of my favorite. It's a book that the author wrote for herself during a dark period of her writing life, to give her motivation and inspire her to continue. It's not a how-to book. It doesn't give advice, as the author tells us in her preface to the book. It's a book about being a writer, about the emotions you go through while writing, the doubts, the fears, the euphoria, the doldrums.

The author tells us stories of great writers and creators who came before us, how they dealt with productivity, rejection, re-writing, the audience, etc. In addition to this, every left page is reserved for quotes from famous writers/artists, about the craft.

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out from his overcoat pocket." That is a quote by Charles Peguy, on page 38 of For Writers Only, in a section titled On Knowing You Are a Writer.

I found this book reaffirming. I read through it quickly, and thought to myself, "Yeah, this definitely rings true." It felt personal in the reading, because it was telling a writer's story, a story that's so familiar, so very close and kindred to my own experience. It helps, sometimes, to read a book like this and realize that yes, everyone feels this way sometimes, and it's all right. 
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I used to wish on every star: Let me be a writer. I prayed at night: Help me write something good. I don't know where this urge came from, but I remember as a young woman sitting by the neighbor's pool in the summer, every fiber in my body held forcibly in place by courtesy while inside I was screaming at the thought (I didn't know what to do with it then) of my waste of time, sitting in the sun; that there was something I was supposed to be doing, some place I was supposed to be! If only I knew what or where.

I have a lion inside me, and I have to feed it words every few days; when I don't, it begins to eat me instead.

--
Sophy Burnham, on Making Time




 
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