Sunday, October 10, 2004

Those Non-Writing Hours

During Neal Stephenson's Q&A yesterday a fan asked what he did when he wasn't writing. He answered (paraphrasing here, of course) that he tries to spend his afternoons doing activities that are directly opposite that of writing. Exercise, computer programming, working on his house, helping a friend build his boat. He said it got his mind off things, at least directly, so when he woke up the next day his head would be filled with ideas and ready to write for a few hours.

Samuel Delaney said something similar to me in a writing workshop in Cleveland a few years ago, that he felt the best job in the world for a writer (particularly a beginning writer) is a ditchdigger. Mindless work, so you can think on your writing while you earn your money and then write when you go home.

In my non-writing times, I'm usually working, playing music, watching t.v., or going for the occassional hike. There may be something to it, though. I often come off of hiking (or even a long drive) with renewed vigor for writing.

But then sometimes I feel disconnected, I feel like I need to finish reading that newest issue of Fence so I know what's going on in the literary world, and that I have to go to that poetry reading next week so I know what's going on locally. All of which takes time away from writing. I guess everyone needs to find that balance that works best for them; I suppose I'm still searching for mine.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

That's a really good piece of advice, about being a ditch digger. In my current life, I am writing all day at work, coming home and writing on my blog, reading fiction or other blogs, and when the muse is with me, writing my own fiction. (Although the weekends have occasional bouts of way too much TV.)

I'm pretty sure this may be a recipe for disaster.


Hebdomeros said...

I wish someone paid me to write. Ah, someday.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget your other main exercise of time... a certain someone in that funky lil seaport, charm city (or syphillis city or the city that reads or the city of neighborhoods or so on and so forth...). She's still giggling in wait. :)

Hebdomeros said...

Hmmmm....who could this be? :) Thanks for stopping by.