I read once that a writer should write at least 500 words a day before any real writing occurs. To encourage writing one must write. Even if the words evoke nothing. Write. The idea is if you coax the axles of your tired mind, give it a little shake, deeper thoughts will issue forth. To me it is an innate theory of mind that touts the philosophy that the writer must write. I say only write when you feel compelled to write. Even if it is a short thought write it down. Type it out. I refuse to submit to the notion that there is a wellspring of creativity deep inside of us and the only way to unleash it is to write a bucket load of crap first. To write is to continue upon a notion. Upon a trigger. Upon an idea. To write means to follow up on a nagging thought that doesn't go away with a nap or a dream. To say I write 500 words a day would be to lie to you. But I am not a writer who believes I must write into exhaustion. Once you get the idea. Write. Until then, do other things. Observe. Read. The best advice I can give to writers is to read. A lot. I don't just mean blogs and newspaper articles. To be a good writer read the best of what you wish to write. Not so as to emulate. It is a fable to think that to read others will rub off on you in a bad way. The anxiety of influence is there, of course. But one reads because one realizes that it has already been said, written, done before. The only hope we have as writers is to say something about what has already been said. The most freeing experience is to read a writer who puts into words a thought you've already had at some point. This revelation conjoins you with the world of ideas. The best writers enter into the history of thought by reading the history of thought. And read with a pencil. Underline. Strikethrough. Spit on. Spill coffee on it. The book. If it is an ebook or a library book buy yourself a reading notebook. If you are a young person you will never write anything that amounts to "good" for a long time. I have not written anything good yet. But I feel that I am close to writing something good. It has taken at least thirty one years to even begin to think I could write something pitch perfect. I have yet to stumble upon my topic. What compels me to write. Which is why I repudiate the inner writer thesis. It is not so much that what I must write is within me but more that what I want to write about has not been found yet. So, here ends my five hundred words for today. I did it for spite.
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Dec 11, 2011
Why I Don't Write 500 Words A Day
I am an educator and a writer. I was born in Louisiana and I now live in the Big Apple. My heart beats to the rhythm of "Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day". My style is of the hot sauce variety. I love philosophy sprinkles and a hot cup of café au lait.