Monday, October 19, 2009

The ritual of writing

Last night I toyed with the idea of trying to write in the evening. But I cannot bring myself to write at night. Blog comments yes, but not full postings. I only put them up after I have written them in the mornings.

In the mornings I am fresh and able to think. As the day progresses my mind gets cluttered and I lose all confidence at writing. This is a strange process, others seem to reverse that order.

Others prefer to write at night into the wee hours. For me it must be in the morning.

So many blogs inquire about people’s writing practice. I wonder whether others are like me. Do they write in the night or morning? Is there anyone who can write at any time day or night simply at will? I have a sense that for me at least certain rituals apply to the business of writing. Certain times when it is okay to tackle the blank page and other times when it is not.

Midway through December I will go to Varuna for a week. Here I will try to write at all times, night and day. I am excited. I have never had the chance to write for an entire week alone.

There will be other writers in residence and Peter Bishop hopefully might offer guidance.
‘Why don’t you just go to a beach house,’ one of my daughters asked when I described my trip to Varuna.

There’s more to it than just writing. There is the opportunity to run the work past others, to write in a collegial atmosphere.

It reminds me of some of the scenes in Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty where she describes her time at writing residences. The sense of being alone to write coupled with a level of companionship where everyone is embarked on the same quest: to write as well as they possibly can.
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