Friday, September 07, 2007

On Writing

I'm heading off to the airport in an hour and a half and have reached the state where everything I can think of is done (liquids in a clear plastic bag, shoes ready to kick off); and I don't want to start anything new. So I will blog.

But first coffee... There, the water is heating...

I don't have time right now to go back over the blog and see what other people are posting. Last time I checked, a lot of the posts were about the technical problems of writing and about career planning. I found it hard to join in, because I'm a writer of advancing years, with 30+ years of publishing behind me; and my concerns are somewhat different.

I have always been a slow writer and (I think) a low energy person, thought maybe it could be argued that I am reflective and interested in a lot of things besides writing. In any case, I suspect my energy level is decreasing as I age. So one question is, can I increase my energy through better nutrition and more exercise? And another question is, how can I use the energy I have in the best way? What is important to me now?

Right now, I feel I have proved that I can write. The gnawing desire to be published and then recognized has been mostly satisfied. Though I would like to keep writing, because more recognition is always nice.

Technical problems interest me in the sense that I want to try new things. I have never liked writing the same story twice. And the stories of mine I like the best are the ones that strike me as genuinely odd.

My best story ever is a folk tale about grammar.

But I don't have much use for rules about writing. I think this partly because I did not learn to write from classes or workshops like Clarion or how-to books. I learned from reading science fiction and being in writing groups. I have not been exposed to rules much; and when I hear them, I tend to see them as a challenge. How can I break that rule and end with a good story?

In any case, my current issue is -- how much time and energy do I have for writing? And what do I want to write? What seems new and importent to me?

I don't have an answer yet.


Kelly McCullough said...

The story Eleanor references as her best is The Grammarian's Five Daughters and it is one of the great short stories.

Erik Buchanan said...

Yes, you can improve your energy through exercise and proper diet.

There are a million or so exercise programs out there, and about a billion diet plans. Most of them don't work because they promise quick fixes and fast results. Neither last long.

Instead of a diet plan, think about eating properly: whole foods, removing excess sugars, getting enough fruits and vegetables. Never trust a diet that says "If you eliminate THIS from your diet life will be better" because they are usually wrong.

Try typing "Healthy eating" into Google to get some good information.

As for exercise, the best exercise is one you will do, so take the time to figure out what sounds interesting to you. It may be formal training, taking up a sport, hiking, or something else. Only you can decide what interests you the most, so try various things until you find one you want to spend time doing.

to make the most of your energy, time management is the key. Not just setting down all your appointments, but taking the time to figure out what things in your life are unnecessary and what things you don't like, and eliminating them.

One method is to break down your activities into important/not important and urgent/not urgent. This shows you what you consider priorities, and what things are not. Anything that comes out as not urgent and not important is something you may consider eliminating from your life.

Also, as you plan your time, be sure to schedule in time off and fun and sleep. Recovery (physical and mental) is as important to good use of time as anything else, and will help you enjoy your life more and be more effective in using your time.

Again, type "Time Management" into Google for some good tips.

Best of luck with both.