Furor Scribendi.pdf - Afterward This autobiographical...

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Unformatted text preview: Afterward This autobiographical article appeared originally in I" magazine undct the Emma title, ‘Bitth of a Vii-- never liked the Enema: title. My title was always “'- Obsession.” 5 I’ve often said that tint: my life was filled with ,. wfidngmdnotmuchcbgitwastoodulltowritean‘ still feel that way. I'm glad I wrote this piece. but I didn’t -. wridngitlhavenodoubtatallthatthcbatandthc- interesting part of me is my fiction. _ Furor Scribendi 3) titingfotpubliationmaybeboththeeasieuandthe ' linden thing you’ll ever do. learning the tulel—if .etnbecnflednfles—istheeuypaml’ollowingthan. 'theminmreguhrhabimhmongoingmmflae -- (Illa: l.Rud.Rendabouttheart.themft,andthebusineu " ; Reedtheldndofworkyou'dliketowrite.kend ’ilinetatuteandbad.fietionandfict.llealcverydayand fiomwhatyoum¢lfyoucommutetoworkorifyou penofyomdaydoingldafivdynundlmworklinen -- npestyom-libnrydoan’thaveagoodsupplyof boohonaudionpeeompanienlikelleoolded Boob on Tape, Brilliance Cotpontion, and the f Euwillmtouellyouawideselectionofsudlbooks ' pleasure and continuing eduation. These provide a mympondauxofhnguagqthesoundsofwotds. dunmrindon, plowinganddnemultimdes of ideas findmfimmbbgaphxmedidnetheedenmm ‘leedaueeandgotowrim'worbhopeWfitingis 7 .'. f-n. You need other people to let you know , you're communicating what you think you are and ‘3 'you’le doing it in ways that are not only weenible ' ' ; butuoompellinguyoucanmakethemJn 139 ILOODCHILD AND OTHER STORIES :_‘ UIOI SCIIIENDI otherwords. younced toknowthatyou're tellingagoodstory. You want to be the writer who keeps readers up late at night. not the one who drives them of? to watch television. Workshops and classes are rented readers—rented audi— ences—for your work. Learn from the comments. questions. and suggestions of both the teacher and the class. These rela— tive strangers are more likely to tell you the truth about your workdranareyourfriendsandfamilywhomaynotwantto hurt or offend you. One tiresome truth they might tell you. for instance. is that you need to takeagrammar class. lfthey say this. listen. Take the class. Vocabulary and grammar are (CIonapieceofworkthatyouarn'tselLYoumaybeableto your primary tools. They’re most effectively used. even most it later to new publications or to new editors of old publi- efi'ectively abused. by people who understand them. No oom- " - At worst. you should be able to learn from your reject- puterprograrn. nofriendoremployeecan takethe placeofa Work-Youmycvenbeabletouseallorparrofitinanew sound knowledge of your tools. One way or another. writers can use. or at least learn 3. Write. Write every day. Write whether you feel like ,. everything. wrrting or mg, Choose a time of day. Pe'h‘P‘ you can 8“ up 6. Here are some potential impediments for you to for- an hour earlier, stay up an hour later. give up an hour of recre ,. £50m: ation. or even give up your lunch hour. If you can't think of '_ First forget intrinsic». Habit rs more dependable. Habit anything in your chosen genre, keep a journal. You should be attain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help keeping one anyway. Journal writing helps you to be more finish and polish your stories. Inspiration wont. Habit ts observantofyourworld.andajournalisagoodplacetostore --~—u- inpractice. mg, id“. fog later projects. ' Forget talent. If you have it. fine. Use it. Ifyou don’t have 4. Revise your writing until it’s as good as you can make doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspira- itAll the sading. the writing. and theclasses should help you ' continued learning is more dependable than talent. do this. Check your writing, your research (never neglect your let pride or laziness prevent you from learning. unpmv. teaeardl). andthephysiml appearance of your manuscript. Let your work. changing its direction when necessary. nothingsubstsndard slip through. lfyou notice something -- - isessential to anywritem—rhepersistencetofinisb dratneedsfixing.fixit.noexcuses.Therewillbeplentythat's mmkeepwritinginspiteofrejectionwokeepread- wrong that you won't catch. Don't make the mistake of ignor- Mylng. submitting work for sale. But stubbornness. the flawsthatareobviousroyou.Themomentyoufindyour- E < saying. .'This doesn’t matter. It's good enough.” Stop. Co - Fix the flaw. Make a habit ofdoing your best. ' 5. Submit your work for publication. Fust research the . drarinterestyouSeekoutandsnrdythebooksor . 'nes ofpublishers to whom you want to sell. Then sub. ' yourworlt. lftheideaofdoingthissearesyou, fine. Go — - andbeafraid. Butaendyourworkoutanyway. lfit’s --- .., send it out again. and again. Rejectiom are painful. » inevitable. 'l'hey‘reeverywriter’s rite ofpassage. Don’tgive 4 rso 3. 141 refusal to change unproductive behavior or to revise unsalable workcanbelethaluoyourwritinghopes. Finally. don’t worry about imagination. You have all the imagination you need, and all the reading. journal writing, andlearningyouwillbedoingwill stimulate it. Playwith your ideas. Have fitn with them. Don’t worry about being silly or outrageous or wrong. So much of wnung is fun. It's first let- tingyourinserestsandyourimaginationtakeyouanywheteat alLOneeyou'teabletodothat.you’llhavemoreideasthan youetnuse.’l'hend1erealworkoffashioningdieminma worybegins. Suywith it. Persist. I42 ILOODCHILD AND OTHER STOIIIS Afierword ;wrotethisbriefessayfortheW¢asofrbanmnandIology -'es (1.. Ron Hmmsmoffiehmm. ' seriesshoweasestheworkofnewwntemandmyeuayis .. tversion ofa talk that I’ve given to groups ofnew ; Thelastwordoftheessayisiumostimpomntword. 'v- ; isdifiicult. You doitallalone without encouragement ’1 without any certainty that you'll ever be published or paid ' « that you’ll be able to finish the particular work you've - it isn’t easy to persist amid all that. That’s why I’ve _. this mild little essay “Furor Scribendi“ —"A Rage for ‘-v-; ' “Rage." 'Positive Obsession,” “burning need to .Call itanythingyoulike; it’sausefulemotion. Sometimes when I'm interviewed, the' tnterviewer either ' -"tsmeonrny‘talent, my'gift.'orasksmehowl 'it. (I don't know. maybe itwassupposed nobe lying dosetoronthestreetsomewhere,waitingtobediseov— lusedtostruggletoamwerthispolinely. wexplain that -'tbelievemuchinwritingealent. Peoplewhowantto " either do it or they don’t. At last I began to say that my important talent—or habit—mum. Without it, « have given up writing long before I finished my first , it’samazingwhatweeandoifwesimplyrefiisetogive {I suspect that this is the most important thing I've said pinyintervimandulksaswellasindtisbook. lt'satruth H3 ILOODCHILD AND OTHER STORIES dnatappliutomrednnwriting. ltapplieseoanydfingthat is impomnt. but difficult. important. but frightening. We’re allapableofclimbingso much Mgherdunweusuallypermit ounelvee to suppose. The word. again, is ”penis?! —Ncw Stories- l“ ...
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