The Writer’s Portable Mentor

writer's portable mentor Priscilla LongA shoutout this month to Priscilla Long’s book, “The Writer’s Portable Mentor”.
I am having fun applying her ‘working with language’ practices to some pieces I am working on.

I was also pleased to learn that Priscilla encourages the use of ‘timed writing’, as this is a practice I enjoy very much.

Copying out a paragraph or two of a work-in-progress into my writer’s notebook and then rewriting it with one of her recommended craft exercises in mind has been very revealing.

When I’ve finished with the exercise I then type it back into the piece. (I am getting better at ‘finishing what I’ve started’, although if you have visited my justfiverules site, you’ll notice I have some way to go on getting that skill down!)

A wonderful, wonderful book for writers – aimed at creative non-fiction and short story writers. But I think the novelist within will also benefit from its wisdom and encouragement.

Overcoming Resistance Persistence

I finally got around to purchasing and reading Stephen Pressfield’s, ‘The War of Art’.
2015-belfast-summer-evening

Just what Dr. Resistance didn’t want to hear.

In fact, Mr. Pressfield had a special deal for a number of his books in multiple formats over the Christmas period. So, I treated myself to the ebook and audio versions of ‘The War of Art’ and ‘Do the Work’. Both are very honest accounts of how a lifetime can be spent creating drama and excitement on and (often!) off the page. He don’t pull no punches at what holds many people back from doing what they could be doing.

That is, doing their work. And while they still have a pulse.

Recent celebrity bereavements have reminded me yet again of how fleeting fame and fortune turn out to be. Sure, the adulation of others is all well and good but the music only plays while alive within you. Suffocation by sufferance seems a piss-poor way to treat a natural talent.

The upshot of these turn-of-the-year musings? Well, I have reconciled my doubts about writing fiction through a keyboard with the practicalities of producing sufficient output to learn and improve on. So, the keyboard it is for the work itself. Pen and paper I will mostly reserve for random character sketches, words of the day, and for recording the plot points, character idiosyncrasies and key details as a story unfolds.

I took a short break from ‘The Zelkova Tree’ to begin writing a prologue story about Lisa’s mother, Prof. Junko Smith. Somehow, she has found herself walking on the Moon. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun.