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Work to increase your writing stamina.

“To paraphrase Daniel Pinkwater, work on being able to sit at your workstation (typewriter, computer, legal pad, birch bark) for one hour without doing anything else. No guitar playing, no alphabetizing of previous poem titles, no eating. You don't have to write, but you do have to stay there and not do anything BUT write. For me (and Daniel Pinkwater), this is the hardest part of writing.” -- Peter Berryman


Peter Berryman contributed this idea: After reading it, this author started analyzing writing habits. Here is a partial list of distractions cataloged on a sunny summer day while he should have been writing:

  • Getting up to look out the window (four times in two hours)
  • Getting a drink (twice in two hours)
  • Playing with desk doodads (thrice in two hours)
  • Reading something that wasn't germane (twice in two hours)
  • Playing an electronic game and taking a nap (This wasted the hour before the two almost productive hours.)
Of course, this author would never take the time to catalog these events were he not doing it for this project. You believe that don't you? Now where were we?

If you pay close attention to what you are doing, you will see all the ways that you waste time instead of writing. The important part is, that if you have no writing stamina, have good excuses. You're playing with that marble for inspiration? Or are you trying to get a better feel for how to describe the colors as it spins? You're throwing that pen up to see if it will stick to the acoustic tiles as an experiment to prove its durability as a writing instrument, perhaps? Pay attention to what you do. When you catch yourself doing these things to avoid writing, gently bring yourself back to where you should be. Develop that stamina over time.

And remember, if you're going to pursue the distractions, use them as poetic inspiration.

Tip Origin: Peter Berryman

Status: Incomplete


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