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Writing Prompts of the Week – 9

1. Many people feel reading fiction is a waste of time. Write about your position on this, giving reasons to support your argument.

2. Write about a memorable experience you have had while traveling.

3. Write from the point of view of a child as he/she perceives the world around him/her.

4. Write an essay, story, or poem making use of the following words – shopping, interest, someone, understand, and rumor.

5. Write about the first thing that comes to your mind on seeing this picture –

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Inspiring Authors

Writing tips from authors. An extremely inspiring video.

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Why We Procrastinate

When I was last writing on procrastination, I realized that it was such a wide topic that it was not possible to cover everything in one post.  It was then that I had decided that I’d do few – each covering a different aspect. Today we’ll look at why writers procrastinate. I did a little research of my own and this is what I came up with:

1. There are days when we just don’t feel like writing. This was the main reason given for procrastination. According to these writers – You can’t force yourself to write. If there are times when you don’t feel like writing, it is best to leave it for later. Forcing yourself will never produce good results; it may even lead to frustration, which is even worse. These writers go on to say that in such cases, whenever they have left writing for later, the results have always been good. It’s as if their creativity rejuvenates during the resting period. (This reminds me of the comment by Mary Maddux to my previous post. She had said this exact same thing.)

2.  We don’t know enough on the topic. Some writers say that they procrastinate when they feel they don’t know enough on the topic. Leaving things for later gives them time to think, to check/recheck the material they have collected, or even to further research the topic. This happens mainly with writers who are perfectionists.

3. We don’t like what we write. Quite a few writers say that they put their writing off for later when they feel the quality of what they are producing is not good enough. They feel they can write much better than what they are writing now. This again is a sign of perfectionism – wanting their writing to be perfect.

4. We have other things on our mind. According to other writers, they leave their writing when they go through bad phases. That is, when they are under stress or tension due to some personal or work-related reason. They say it’s just not possible for them to write anything when they have so many other things on their minds. If they force themselves to, the results are not good. So, it’s best to leave the writing for the time when they are feeling better and their minds have cleared.

5. We’re too busy. A few writers procrastinate when they are busy with other things – personal or otherwise. They say that sometimes they just do not have the time and so have no choice but to leave the writing for later.

Do you procrastinate? Or does a writer that you know does? What is your, or his/her, reason for putting things off for later?

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Geoffrey Zimmerman’s Advice to Aspiring Writers

Author and screen writer Geoffrey Zimmerman shares some advice that he wishes someone had shared with him when he was first getting started in the business.

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Chimamanda Adichie on the Danger of a Single Story

Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie,  talks about how our lives and cultures are composed of many overlapping stories; and how we can find our own unique voice from among them.  A brilliant and very inspirational talk –

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Chimamanda Adichie“, posted with vodpod

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Writer Anecdotes – Mark Twain

Mark Twain (1835-1910), often called “the father of American literature”,  ismark twain one of the most noted and popular authors of all times. He is known for his keen wit and humor, and is extensively quoted.

Following are some interesting anecdotes:

* * *

One day during a lecture tour, Mark Twain entered a local barber shop for a shave. This, Twain told the barber, was his first visit to the town.

“You’ve chosen a good time to come,” he declared.
“Oh?” Twain replied.
“Mark Twain is going to lecture here tonight. You’ll want to go, I suppose?”
“I guess so…”

“Have you bought your ticket yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“Well, it’s sold out, so you’ll have to stand.”
“Just my luck,” said Twain with a sigh. “I always have to stand when that fellow lectures!”

* * *

Among his volumes of fan mail, Twain often found photographs of men claiming to be his double. By way of reply, he would send the following form letter:

“My dear Sir, I thank you very much for your letter and your photograph, In my opinion you are more like me than any other of my numerous doubles. I may even say that you resemble me more closely than I do myself. In fact, I intend to use your picture to shave by. Yours thankfully, S. Clemens.”

* * *

Mark Twain did much of his writing in bed, irrespective of the time. One day, his wife entered the bedroom to inform him that a reporter had arrived to conduct an interview.

When Twain made no effort to get out of bed, she intervened: “Don’t you think it will be a little embarrassing,” she rhetorically remarked, “for him to find you in bed?” “Why, if you think so, Livy,” Twain rhetorically replied, “we could have the other bed made up for him.”

* * *

One day during his tenure as the editor of a small Missouri newspaper, Mark Twain received a letter from a reader who had found a spider in his paper. He wondered whether this portended good or bad luck.

“Finding a spider in your paper,” Twain replied, “is neither good luck nor bad. The spider was merely looking over our paper to see which merchant was not advertising so that he could go to that store, spin his web across the door, and lead a life of undisturbed peace ever afterward.”

* * *

One night a group of Mark Twain’s friends in New York, having recognized the date as that of his birth, decided to send him a suitable greeting. Unfortunately, the globe-trotting traveler was away and no one knew where he might be reached. After some deliberation, a letter was simply sent off with the address: “Mark Twain, God Knows Where.” Several weeks later a letter arrived from Twain: “He did.”

* * *

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Sunday in September

Today is a Sunday in September, so today I’d like to share a poem entitled ‘Sunday in September’ with you. It’s a poem written by a very dear friend of mine from way back in high school – Maggie Belisle. Maggie is a very talented lady and writes beautiful poetry. This is just one example.

September 2

Sunday in September

Sunday in September, the 26th after the full moon.
First chance I’d had to sit alone and scribble some…
I wander through the crowds. The random remarks drift past.
Older women complaining to husbands
“I shoulda just stayed the Hell Home…”
“now WAITa minute.” the men counter “ I ASKED you if ….”
I walk on..voices fading…
the smells of body sweat, hot dogs,
and powdered sugar on hot grease, oil soaked dough from
“the ever popular Funnel Cakes”
see the proudly strutting males and females
so desperately presenting so much of their bodies..
“Please notice me” they shout silently
Here, among the masses there are magnificent ancient faces
a thousand years in replication farmers,
shepherds, warriors and ladies
They have the strength of endurance, determination…
this wonderful heritage of pride
etched in their faces
their hearts
their eyes.
Something responds.
Something remembered
By firesides and starfilled nights
stone hearths and dirt floors
and blood bonds
of blood feuds…
here together again
after the separation of so many centuries.
We clamor to praise one another
ourselves, our heritage.
We seek to affirm in one another that we are kin
by centuries of survival
the faces of strangers seem familiar.
The sights and sounds all spilling over a multitude
of collective memory…
And when the music plays a thousand hands keep time
a thousand heels stamp out the
pounding of the familiar rhythms.
We know these all by rote by blood by heart
even if we’ve never heard the tune before…
And between the frolic of jigs and reels
there is the squeezbox and the pipes, the whistles
all recalling our tears
a thousand years old
a thousand times shed
a thousand times remembered.
Something survives. Something Endures.
It is Ourselves
Still a People
for heartbreaks of losses and countless struggles borne
Still a nation of wanderers
laughing and singing
while dancing down the days
of too much time

Comments are welcome.

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