Mailbag: Peace and Passion, Summer Plans

In this week’s mailbag, I’d like to return to a couple of posts that I wrote recently about getting yourself in the right mindset for writing and editing. The first is about The Need for Peace and Passion in your writing life. I argued that while writing needs vigor and passion, it also needs cool-headedness and thought to be polished. George Fripley said:

Interesting post. I personally find that the second time I read what I have written I often cringe a little. There is usually a much better way to say what I wanted to say. A rather extreme example of this was a novel I wrote some years ago. I slogged through it and then put it down for about 6 months. When I tried to read it it was just dysfunctional and not worth saving. However this stimulated the production of a poem that captured the whole essence of what I was trying to say and is one of the very few that I have had success with.

Thanks, George, for sharing your story experience. It’s often true that when I read back on a draft of my work, I shudder! It just suddenly seems so weak or rough to me. We do need that moment of thoughtful contemplation, though, to understand what we were first trying to accomplish with the story and how to revise it. But the passion is crucial as well; otherwise we’re just crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s of a dead story.

Finally, I wrote a post about getting into the game for summer: What’s Your Summer Plan? mary brady said:

When I worked, I was a great one for to-do lists & I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I crossed off tasks. Since I “got retired,” I’ve felt adrift–there are a number of things I’d like to do…So, I think I’ll go back to my “to-do” lists on a daily basis.
Like many people, I often put down 72 hours worth of tasks on one list. However, as long as I write a minimum of 1.5 hours daily, I WILL get somewhere with this.
I am reminded of an old “Ashleigh Brilliant” postcard that said: “If I do just a little bit each day, eventually the task will completely overwhelm me…”
Hey! I, too, was born in June–June 2nd! I find whenever I tell people I’m a Gemini, they look sad and say, “Awww, that’s too bad. It must be difficult being two-faced.”
Our sign has a bum rap. Any suggestions for a snappy reply?

Thanks, mary! I can’t deny that I’m a big fan of lists. They keep me focused and just make me feel more productive when I know what I have to do and that I can check it off when it’s done. For summer, you might want to make a larger “master list” that has the big things you want to accomplish by summer’s end on it.

As for Gemini comebacks, I can only say that it makes us much more interesting, literally more “multi-faceted” people! There’s nothing wrong with having a serious side and a fun side. (That is, if I believed in astrological signs. I don’t, but they’re fun to think about).

Stay tuned to Writerly Life for more writing thoughts, as always!

One comment

  1. Tammi Kibler says:

    I have started using weekly to do lists. I like having the ability to adjust my tasks to the way I feel from day to day. I can also reward myself with a day off toward the end of the week if I have been particularly productive at the beginning.

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