I think I may be the world's worst meditator. I've tried it off and on since my 20s, and I love the concept: quieting the mental noise, clearing away the chatter for a period of time, inviting stillness. But I am so bad at it.
I'm sure if you asked any contemporary writer, from J.K. Rowling to Hilary Mantel, Will Self to Irvine Welsh, if they consider their editor's contribution essential, they'd all answer without hesitation with a resounding 'yes.'
After college -- and after writing my first play -- I veered away from writing, and chose to train as an actor. I had grown weary of the solitary and somewhat depressive nature of the writing process. And let's face it: acting elicits a much quicker return.
Sometimes we realized we had a ten-page scene that accomplished nothing. Other times a two page scene would be so dense it appeared to be unspeakable by Earthlings. At one point the play exceeded 200 pages.
There's a new literary camp in town. Litquake and the San Francisco Writers' Grotto have joined their wonder twin powers to form Lit Camp a literary writing intensive with representatives from McSweeney's, The Believer, ZYZZYVA and The Rumpus.
In 1938, F. Scott Fitzgerald received a story from family friend Frances Turnball, who was looking for feedback on her writing. In response, Fitzgerald crafted a letter containing advice for young writers worthy of marble etching.
In honor of their 10-year anniversary, 826 Valencia asked would-be authors (including children and adults) to round up pledges for 8/26 Day, then join them at 826 Valencia on Sunday, August 26 from noon to 8:26 p.m. to write.
Having spent my formative years in a country where poetry, myth and superstition are woven into the fabric of everyday life, these elements find their way into my stories. The Last Romanov is no exception.
I'm always blogging in the shower. The isolation, the quiet, the warmth, and the steady stream of water from multiple shower heads relax my body and free my mind. Ideas arrive with ease and I write in my head until I can get to the computer or my iPad.
As writers, we need to be aware of the ways in which our work can be read; weeding out the useful from the non-useful is an important skill, as is reading closely for what might be improved. But it can be a slippery slope.
It happens at least once a semester. A student writes me an impassioned note begging me to tell her whether or not she has what it takes to be a writer, imploring me to "stop her right now," if she doesn't.
Even if you don't write, give journaling a try. Sit down and write whatever comes. There are no rules or boundaries. You don't have to approach journaling with any specific intention other than to offer yourself the outlet.