Write-a-thon, Day 12: Writing on a thin line

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Miscellaneous, music, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

The muse we really need

Today’s cartoon comes to us courtesy of noted Southern industrialist Jim Cobb. “Maybe you need this guy to help you finish your book,” Mr. Cobb says, and I can’t say I disagree. Duke Ellington once wrote, “I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.” If I had a Muse like this one, or if I had a publisher waiting for a manuscript, I wouldn’t be struggling every day to turn out one good page. I wouldn’t be struggling at all, because I’d be terrified and the verb in the previous sentence would be “churn,” not “turn.”

Jim’s birthday was July 2, which is not a bad day for a birthday, though nowhere near as good as July 3.

I want a new drug
I had every intention of turning July 4 into a pretend-I’m-a-novelist day. I know that every novelist spends his or her working day (or night) differently, but here’s how I envisioned mine: Get up early, go for a brisk walk, eat a hearty breakfast, plow into my book for about four hours.

But it was my day off! And it was beautiful outside! The early part went out the window early, but we did manage the walk and the breakfast, along with a yard sale. I didn’t actually get going until 2. I eventually turned in 2.5 hours in the Write-a-thon.

If this is it
Just because you have a huge block of time ahead of you doesn’t mean you’ll use that huge block of time the way you’d originally planned. I’m accustomed to stealing time for my writing here and there. Like most writers, I do something else for a living, so my writing time is more hit-and-run than big productive blocks.

I wasn’t sure how to handle all those hours today. Writing is a muscle, and so is time management. You have to exercise them to keep them in shape. But by the time I got into the second hour I was getting my second wind. Overall, I’m happy with what I did today. I’m working a half-day tomorrow so I’ll try noveling for the other half. Get back in the zone, do some serious scaring, put up some big numbers.

You crack me up
Why am I using Huey Lewis & The Snooze songs for headlines? Because the Portland Mercury has produced one of the best bits of music journalism I’ve read this century. Granted, the bar in music journalism is set close to the floor, and taking Huey as your subject doesn’t help. But in “The Everyman Appeal of Huey Lewis,” Ned Lannamann and Ezra Ace Caraeff offer some real insight not just into that band but into the 1980s and pop music in general. If you like pop music, if you like Huey or like to laugh at Huey, you should read this.


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