What’s the hardest thing for you about writing or the writing life?


The hardest thing…

Sandi’s great post regarding National Novel Writing Month got me thinking about how my experience with NANOWRIMO in 2008 helped jumpstart my writing after my cancer experience. Lately, I’ve been struggling with many of the valuable things I had gained from NANOWRIMO, the biggest for me being dedicated daily writing where I shut off the internal editor and simply cranked words for first drafts. Recently, I’ve slowed down again, agonizing over every word…. for me, that’s fine in revising, but torture and unproductive in first drafts.

The hardest thing…

Two years ago, I attended two creative writing classes at Marquette University, taught by Larry Watson, author of Montana, 1948 (a lovely, lovely book now taught in many classrooms). I was in the audience recently for the launch of his latest book, American Boy, and was very struck by his answer to the question: What’s hardest for you about writing?  “Sentences. Getting it right.”

For me, at this moment in my life, that’s not the hardest thing about writing. For me, the hardest thing is shutting off the fretting I do about multiple family members’ issues — the fretting creates a static in my head that makes it truly difficult for me to focus on my writing — and, for some reason, I seem able to write non-fiction, but the static creates difficulty for me with my fiction writing. And, that leads to my greatest fear:

Let’s hear from you, MHCers. What’s the the hardest thing for you about writing and/or the writing life?



November is National Novel Writing Month!


November is National Novel Writing Month

From November 1-30, NaNoWriMo challenges writers and would-be writers to write a 50,000-word novel in one month.  While the organizers of this event (going on 13 years now) clearly state that quantity is far more important that quality, the main purpose of National Novel Writing Month is to help demonstrate how easily the pages can add up if you simply commit to writing every day.

If you want to sign up for the contest (and last year more than 300,000 people did), please click here.

But I would like to challenge all writers and readers of The Lyon Review to use this month to develop your own writing project–whether that means committing to writing one page a day of anything you are interested in–poetry, stories, plays, a novel, even a journal entry.  I’ve made my own commitment to focus less on trying to get the prose “right,” and indeed simply get Chapter Four of my latest novel down on the page and worry about revision later.

Sometimes speaking your promise aloud or telling someone else about it as it helps keep you  on track. It also gives you “permission” to do something just for yourself without worrying about how it will impact the other people in your life for a change.

If you want to join us in this journey, use the form below and “vote” on how you plan to make the most of your November.  If you don’t want to write each day, perhaps pledge to read a certain number of books within 30 days, or paint a picture a day, or do yoga.  Just pick something you love that always wished you had “time” to do every day.  Then do it.

And you don’t even have to wait until November to start!