Thursday, August 19, 2010

Your Own Quiet Corner

(Wrote this up a while back but forgot to post...)

Some interesting comments from a Big Other post that quoted an interview with Amy Hempel:

Interviewer: As a writing teacher, and in the interest of all the aspiring writers reading this, what’s the most common mistake young, fresh writers make?

Amy Hempel: This is the young writer mistake question: Wanting to publish more than wanting to write well.

The post was titled "Amy Hempel's Answer -- What's Yours?"

Steve Himmer chimed in with this comment:

"To some degree, I think the constant hum of the online lit community exacerbates that pressure [to publish], and the rapidity with which stories go from written to submitted to published online. I’m not getting all Andrew Keen here and blaming the web, but for me at least the constant awareness via Facebook and Twitter and email of who’s publishing what and where and how often makes it harder to find the calm, quiet corner where my writing actually needs to get done. Obviously, it’s up to me – not the web – to tune that noise out and do the work.

"So maybe my advice to young (and old) writers would be — along with what Hempel said — to get offline more often and trust in the possibilities of your own quiet corner."

For me, finding that quiet corner has been a challenge. Yes, there is family, job, house, commute, my Vaudeville act, etc.

But part of the challenge also involves what Steve is talking about. In the past I've tried to take a break from FB, blogs, keeping up with what other writers are doing, and so on; yet I've found it very difficult to detach.

The constant hum is, well, constant. And I get caught up in it more than I should.

I like Steve's advice to get offline and trust in the possibilities of your own quiet corner. Now it's a matter of actually taking it...


Ravi Mangla said...

I think I missed that Big Other post. Steve's comment is very true. In the Franzen article in Time he talks about removing the wireless card from his laptop and supergluing shut the ethernet port.

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Andrew Roe said...

Hey Ravi,

I hadn't heard of that tactic yet. I think I remember Franzen saying he wore a blindfold or earplugs (or something) when writing The Corrections. Guess he's had to up the ante.

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