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Write On

I don’t know from Jane Smiley’s work, but I dig her advice to writers over at Fictionaut:

Any favorite writing exercises?

Eavesdrop and write it down from memory–gives you a stronger sense of how people talk and what their concerns are. I love to eavesdrop! Gossip. The more you talk about why people do things, the more ideas you have about how the world works. Write everyday, just to keep in the habit, and remember that whatever you have written is neither as good nor as bad as you think it is. Just keep going, and tell yourself that you will fix it later. Take naps. Often new ideas come together when you are half asleep, but you have to train yourself to remember them.

Write everyday. Every. Day. Show up. Do the work. Show up.

Forgive me, I’m thinking out loud. But hey, I’ll take inspiration wherever I can find it.

Categories:  Arts and Culture  Bronx Banter  Creative Process

Tags:  books  janey smiley

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1 thelarmis   ~  Dec 30, 2010 12:36 am

whenever i see/hear the word "eavesdrop," i think of this awesome line:

Samwise Gamgee to Gandalf: "I ain't droppin' no eaves!"

i love that line.

yeah, i was writing lyrics to a new song in my head this morning, half asleep. forgot about them til hours after i was up. by then, most of it was gone. oh well, i'm not in much of a words writing frame of mind right now, it's all about music composing. and, yes, that has to be written down too - and recorded - otherwise it's easy to forget...

2 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 30, 2010 2:04 am

[1] I have that problem with dreams. A lot of good ones I've forgotten as soon as I woke up (especially if I'm disrupted from my sleep)... but then sometimes that may be a good thing, considering the source...

3 JohnnyC   ~  Dec 30, 2010 9:53 am

Filmmaker John Sayles started out as a prize-winning novelist and a good 50% of his prose was dialogue (his films are rather wordy as well). He claims he has a photographic memory and easily recalls eavesdropped conversations. His talent for realistic dialogue comes from that special faculty. One thing to remember -- real life speech is mostly inarticulate. Very few people express themselves verbally as well as they might in writing.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 30, 2010 10:46 am

3) So true. I learned so much transcribing interviews over the years. First about how to listen, really listen, and also how even the most articulate subjects don't speak like they write.

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