How I organize my writing life

Last night at critique group we writers were discussing how to live and also manage to write. Sometimes when I write about complicated topics like this, I feel overwhelmed because I know my own life, but I don’t know yours. Therefore, take what is useful, and leave what isn’t. That will make me feel better.

There are different stages of the writing life as well as stages of manuscripts, and I think they require different handling. For example, beginners have to figure out where they’ll write, whereas veterans probably already have that covered. I won’t go into that, because I’m not writing a book here. Ethel Herr would say write where you can with what you can. Quiet and a pencil are good enough. Your own office and a computer are nervana. New writers don’t usually begin with more than one piece, so the organization issue only covers that one piece. Nice. Veteran writers have a larger world. What to do ?

Here’s my story, and that is all I know. When I began to write, I had a typewriter on a tv tray in a corner of the bedroom. I was writing a story about the birth of our son there when I went into labor with my daughter. I sold that story for $7, and rejoiced all over town. Organization: one typewriter, a bottle of White-Out, paper and a tv tray. Article-wise organization, I don’t even remember, and it’s probably book-length anyway. Complication: children do not understand “Wait.” Many “Now where was I?s” came before that $7. However, my writing pilot light was lit, and refused to be extinguished. Continue reading

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