Friday, March 26, 2010

Rules for Writing

LEFT: Marina Warner's writing room, from the Guardian's series "Writers Rooms"

I'm off to film bink hanging banners in church (for this upcoming Passion Sunday)--I'm hoping I can catch the fall of red cloth... Seems I didn't get my fill of it in "Orestes & the Fly."

I keep thinking I'm done with moviemaking because it calls for so much boring physical labor (as opposed to the boring mental labor of writing), but I guess I'm wrong.

For your amusement, I leave these links from two Guardian articles I found on Neil Gaiman's Journal.
(I don't write fiction, but these apply to all sorts of creative work.)

1.Ten rules for writing fiction

2.Ten rules for writing fiction (part two)

Here are a few I especially liked.

Colm Tóibín
7 If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.

RIGHT: My writing space. (The laptop sits on those paint-stirring sticks, so it doesn't get diaper rash on its bottom.)

Will Self:
8 The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can't deal with this you needn't apply.

9 Oh, and not forgetting the occasional beating administered by the sadistic guards of the imagination.

Rose Tremain:
5 When an idea comes, spend silent time with it. Remember... Kipling's advice to "drift, wait and obey".

Philip Pullman:
My main rule is to say no to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work.

Helen Simpson:
The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying "Faire et se taire" (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as "Shut up and get on with it."

My very favorite, from Margaret Atwood:
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.


deanna said...

Nice: writing spaces! Great idea for a pictorial. Maybe I'll grab my camera...

I need a book holder like the one shown in Warner's room for my Strong's Concordance.

Laptops get diaper rash?

I like your choices from the lists. Does it say something that solitary confinement (as portrayed in movies and on TV) has always somewhat appealed to me?

I also greatly enjoyed your post on women and science/sci fi. My husband, sick at home this week, was watching some wonderful old flick with Christopher Lee and his breathless female costar ("Oh...Darling...if you'll just hold me first...we can run out and disarm the alien spacecraft before they blow us to bits...").

PaulD said...

Greetings Fresca, Looking for some inspiration I thought of you, and sure enough, there you are, doing what you do and recommend.

The tips are helpful enough, but the two writing rooms (just that concept) is really propelling. Propelling? Well, encouraging at very least.

Thanks; and glad to see you still at it.

Margaret said...

I love looking at writing spaces. They're so tenderly cluttered. If you want to step off on the right foot with someone, spend some time in their writing bubble before you meet them. As it is with belly buttons; as it is with sleeping persons; so it is with writing spaces!
Gimme a "C"!---
Gimme an "ommonality!"

Jennifer said...

I usually write in my bedroom--in bed, even. You're not supposed to because then you associate the bed with something other than sleep, but it works for me. I loved Atwood's advice as well, although I do think my favorite is the "shut up and get on with it." Words to live by in a lot of ways, not just writing...

iloveyoumauralynch said...

I feel almost vindicated by Marina Warner's room, but for the fact of mine being a teacher's room. I DID actually have a handle on it that one time before I got sick, remember? Then teaching and more sick tanked that!
But you know my motto: bounce back, bounce higher!