Monday, June 22, 2009

not writing

I love Stella Duffy’s “Not Writing But Blogging”. Her thoughts on how to write are truly inspirational. However one post in particular continues to resonate with me on Where to Write.

I’ve broken all her rules and can promise you she is absolutely correct.

1. It’s not about writing in cafés or bars or bookshops, it’s about writing.


Me and my shiny new macbook have gone for an outing. I deliberately opted for a wi-fi free local café. I needed food but I also required a bribe to “work” on my only afternoon off for weeks. Sounded good. I fired up the beast and it took all of 2 minutes of fingers flying, to get the otherwise stuck words flowing again. To my horror this was interrupted by a woman, to my left, who felt the urge to tell me how nice my computer looked. I was polite, answered, smiled and turned back to my tapping. Another minute later. “I have an Acer. Do you think I made a mistake? Are they any good?” What am I – IT support just because I’m using a computer in a public space? So I got a couple of paragraphs written, a passable but over priced lunch was consumed but I didn’t want to linger for the next round of inquisition from the lonely woman.

So I found myself at the library. A place I love and has a quiet corner for the pursuit of serious work. Perfect. No one is going to bug me. I am far away from the lure of tempting glossy magazines to peruse. Now what? A pop up box announces itself - do I want to log onto the free wireless network? Oh why not just quickly check my email? And facebook? And what about twitter?*

5. A new notebook will not make you write better. It is just a new notebook. (cf, new mac, new laptop, new pencil.)


Well I got a shiny new red moleskin as well as the lovely new macbook and I can promise you I am not a better writer for it. In fact, worse than that, I lost a whole week of writing spots transferring data from the old to the new computer.

As for the moleskin. I hate defiling them, they cost so much! Back to the spiral sketchbooks for me.

So now, like a fool, I will test yet another of Stella’s truisms.

7. You probably do not need to do another course, you probably just need to finish your book/story/play/film. And then edit it, re-write it, make it better.


With my brand spanking new Victorian Writers' Centre membership card, I’ve signed up to do a short course over the next few months.

Wish me luck!


*I used to think blogging was the time sucking devil til I got hooked on these two. My number one rule to be a writer – stay away from social networking, heck just stay off the net altogether. But do you think I’m going to listen to my own advice?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Ann oDyne said...

Shane Maloney has said in interviews that he writes in the State Library.

I have read that Peter Temple used to write in L'Espresso on Sturt St Ballarat.

I first encountered Stella Duffy at Tart City website.

Miles Franklin award has a $40,000 cheque.
Onward and upward!

9:40 pm  
Blogger Pixie said...

yes, stay off the internet is my new rule. do not turn the computer on. or use one with no connection. sigh. not good for keeping in touch with friends though!

10:26 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Ann - I am Shane Maloney's newest fan after having the pleasure of listening to him on a panel about writing at the melb uni festival of ideas last weekend. Intelligent and entertaining with a toned down ego. Loved it.

Pixie - the net is a very important business tool for a small business owner (thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it! :)

7:45 am  
Blogger Armagnac Esq. said...

I look forward to the novel...

Stephen King 'On Writing' is excellent, whatever your views of King, for inspiring you to simply stop faffing and start penning that great work.

12:52 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Armagnac - me too thought the first baby is non-fiction :)

2:42 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Armagnac - me too thought the first baby is non-fiction :)

2:43 pm  
Blogger Zoe said...

I'm glad about your course, and looking forward to whatever you write.

10:09 am  
Blogger Melba said...

VWC hand in card, I clink yours and say cheers. Once I had an email exchange with Carmel Bird asking her to recommend a good writing course. She said that I probably didn't need to do a course, without having seen my stuff. Just to write, and work at and finish. She was right of course. Take the old Nike slogan and Just Do It. The best thing about a course like the one I'm doing at VWC is the idea of writing to a deadline and there being scrutiny. It's made me go from 15,000 to 52,000 words in 4-5 months. I've been writing all the time, making time for it and just doing it.

I also second the King book On Writing - it's good. And it doesn't matter what stuff you want to write, what he says about writing is helpful.

Yes, the Internet is the Devil, but I find if I can control it, it just becomes a part of my pre-writing ritual in the morning, along with breakfast, coffee, newspapers. I keep out other electronic static such as radio or tv.

Do we need a discussion blog along the lines of We Do Write Our Stuff? No, we don't. More distraction.

Good luck.

1:18 pm  

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