Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whatever Helps . . . To Get the Writing Done

Beverly Cleary, 95, author of the Ramona books and many others, writes:

"When I am writing a book I also enjoy ironing, an idiosyncrasy that probably makes me sound more domestic than I really am. Working with my hands frees my imagination."

After three delete all sessions and staring at the blinking cursor, I got out the old metal ironing board, pushed it open, and locked it into place. My writing companion cats skidded for shelter, puffed and shedding. Not a good sign.

I will take a short break, I told myself, and iron a blouse.

Okay, done. No aha moments. No breakthroughs. Sigh.

Hmm. Suddenly, I remember a rumpled shirt of my husband's. Opening his closet I am struck by the center-stage placement of the two suits he wears only to weddings and funerals--his everyday clothes jammed in the corner. No wonder he's a sartorial mess.

Fast Forward: His closet looks like the OCD fairy waved her wand: short-sleeved shirts stand at attention--like marching soldiers--all facing the same direction, neatly pressed, top button buttoned. Open my closet: more of same.

But the chapter I was writing?

Blinking cursor.

Fast Forward Again: I have put the ironing board away, especially since it quickly became home to piles of manilla files, bills, and magazines.

At last, I have found a spark, an image. Yes. Back to the computer and the project, cats by my side.

My mother and Ironing:

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Platform? What is it?

Everyone in my classes is asking about the author "platform."

A woman last night said, "I think it's getting out of control, all these blogs and websites and people putting so much time and effort into creating a presence on the Internet. Some day we'll all be laughing about this."


Some day, but not today.

And that woman, by the way, is finishing a memoir--and starting a blog.

For information and help, check out publishing pundit Jane Friedman's latest.