Wednesday, July 24, 2013



I regard blogging as a kind of warm-up exercise for my brain—even though I often blog in the evening after my main writing work is done. I think I temporarily stopped blogging at the beginning of June because I had the sense—in the case of the screenplay—that my main work wasn’t done, yet was determined to crack the problem however long it took; so I worked through my blogging time.

I think I was wrong in that regard. I would have been better off knocking off at a reasonable hour and letting my subconscious have a crack at it. Add in a good night’s sleep, and wonders can result.

One of the better decisions of my writing life was to decide not to plan my blogs. Yes, I know that sounds counter-intuitive—after all, I do plan my books—but the attraction of not planning is that it frees the mind and encourages spontaneity. Also, it acts is a sort of intelligence test. After all, if you can’t write a few hundred words on demand, what kind of state must your brain be in!

I would like to qualify my comment about planning books. Editors like authors to supply detailed outlines because that enables the editor concerned to exert more control over the book at the earliest stage (and editors love power).

I confess I’m not a fan of that approach because it hinders the creative process. I don’t object to writing a brief synopsis, but essentially I prefer to let the story evolve on the page. Simply put, the mere process of writing—at least in my case—seems to stimulate creativity.

Writing begets ideas which in turn facilitate the ability to write. In fiction, to give but one example, characters have a habit of seeming to develop lives of their own. In non-fiction, the description of ideas tends to stimulate other ideas.

The process is a virtuous circle but it is dependent on your writing in the first place. It may look that way, but nothing done well is easy. Clear, entertaining writing—which reads effortlessly—is hard pounding.

BOOK RECCOMENDATION: Unfortunately, Americans tend not to be introspective about the state of this Great Nation and The American Way Of Life—and the massive corporate and government propaganda that dominates our existence is near entirely successful at both distracting and deluding us. Nonetheless, the truth is out there if you are prepared to dig and put the pieces together. To that end, may I suggest Dr. Frank Luntz’s book, What Americans Really Want…Really. There are views I don’t agree with—but it is a fascinating read. And frightening. It certainly raises a fundamental question: Is our culture quite what we pretend it to be?

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