Bag of Tricks

Two little strategies for dealing with the chapter that just won’t write itself:

Strategy 1: After a totally flubbed rewrite, take a day off from writing. Use your writing time to do nothing but read. My preference is Faulkner or Joyce, because their rhythms stick with me, and rhythm is good. Then I sit down with my fast Sharpie pen and my big, gray Moleskine and write– no pauses or hesitations, aiming loosely for the plot points I need to write. I don’t stop til the mojo’s gone, or til I fall asleep. The most I’ve been able to write this way was twelve pages at a sitting, which, for little old slowpoke me, is a ream.

Strategy 2: Alternate pen and keyboard. I’m not sure why this helps, maybe a left brain/right brain thing? But for some happy reason it does help. Usually I’m not writing well with the keyboard, so I switch to paper, and it gets a bit better. But the best magic comes next, when I type up what I have on paper, revising as I go. That’s the text that stays.

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