Friday, April 24, 2009

Writer's Day?

When writers are asked what they do on a daily basis, they usually say things that you’ve heard before. “I get up early and write until noon before I take a break.” Yes, I’m alone in my little corner and the words just flow onto the paper.”

I’m lucky that I am able to write just about every day, but some days are better than others. Here’s how my week has gone so far.

I came home from a retreat in the mountains, just south of here, and I had filled pages with ideas, and really needed to get them onto paper for a first draft. Hold on a minute! There are just a few things to do first.

That oak tree needs to be removed before it falls on the cabin, and takes out the porch. Friends are coming next weekend, so that faucet in the shower needs fixing, and YOUR bathroom needs cleaning. When were those towels changed? Remember those shelves you promised to build? Better get the wood shop cleaned and ready. Oh, by the way, the tire is flat on the jeep.
Good Grief!

I managed to sail through most of the chores, and even sang along with the radio while traveling the 12 miles to the tire dealer. And now it’s Thursday, and I pulled out a poem I had fermenting in the folder marked first drafts, and realized it was writer’s group night, so I grabbed what I needed and headed to Blue Ridge. We meet in the old courthouse, and when I arrived one of our members was there with a visitor. With the fantastic weather we have been having in the southern mountains, I suspected we might be the only ones to attend. By six o’clock we had eight writers around the table, and I felt energized. We did introductions for the visitors, discussed some books and magazines that had good articles on writing, and an opportunity to read at the local theater. Then we went around the table for the critique session.

Julia started us off with a short piece from her book, and described a wonderful southern judge, and the children who were able to spend time in his library reading books on plants. He reminded me of Burl Ives.

One of the visitors read from her story about a piece of furniture that smelled like smoke, and I had better let it go there. I don’t want to give away the story. Another visitor introduced us to some characters, and we commented about each one, asking questions and giving gentle critique. A great start, we all thought. Kathy read her piece on local history, and Ed read a beautiful poem called, “Oh Really.”

Pete read a poem about drilling for water in Australia, and I pulled out my first draft. The comments on my poem helped me fix something that I didn’t even know was a problem, and reinforced the fact that every writer needs fresh eyes now and then.

Soon we had filled two hours and I handed out the assignment for the next meeting. Take seven random words and write a short piece or a poem using them. Just something to do if we get stuck for ideas.

What a great group, and this morning I was ready to put words on paper. There’s nothing like sharing with other writers. If you’re not a member of a group, or have a writer friend that will give you honest critique, what are you waiting for?

Have a great day.


  1. Sounds like you are a terrific leader, Robert, and your group of writers have varied pieces going. But I sympathize with you about have to first do the chores before doing your writing.
    More and more I hear people say they have to leave home to write.
    With me, the guilt of leaving my chores undone, steals my muse, and she won't come back until I've finished the dishes, paid the bills, taken the dog to the vet, made six phone calls and answered my email. By then it is bedtime. Now people know why I stay up late and write.

  2. Sometimes it just seems there isn't enough hours in the day. Like Glenda commented-I feel I have to have everything and everybody took care of before I can sit and write.

    (Kieth Jones sent me to your blog-it's very nice!)