Writer’s Cyber Salon
Today, I found two quotes with two different views on handling ideas for writing.
“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” —Henry David Thoreau
“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.”
—Marie de Nervaud
Upon reflection, I understand both quotes. Sometimes, usually with writing poetry, I have to write the words as soon as they come to me, or they are lost. But, when it comes to stories, I tend to think of them, the situation, the characters for a long time. Sometimes too long.
So, do either, or both, of these quotes apply to your writing?
Ah! You and I are on the same page. For me, writing stories needs a lot of thinking. And I am often very critical about my word choices as well as the opening and final paragraph of each chapter/story. Poetry is very different. Sometimes the last verse or phrase relating to a poem is what comes first. I’ve to write that down on my phone’s notepad or else it’s in the wind. At the moment, I’ve four different poems — all incomplete. Some are as old as five months.
Yes, sometimes it is best to let poems grow. And from those you’ve posted before your waiting serves the final poem very well.
Yes I agree – both quotes are relevant. Some stories start in a heated rush for me. For longer pieces there comes a time when I have to pull back and think about what I’ve written and where I want to go next before I can continue.
So, it seems both of these writers were each expressing only a part of a writer’s experience.
Or maybe their experience – some people manage to write whole books without a plan but personally I would get nowhere fast doing that. Other writers plan everything in great detail – that would drive me nuts. 🙂
I’m pretty much where you are. I do a lot of thinking, but so far, the books I’ve written have been collections of shorter writings.
This is quantum mechanics applied to writing. Both quotes, while expressing opposite thoughts, are true.
I can let an idea gestate for 2 or 3 years, during which time it blossoms and becomes a story idea. If I had begun writing right away, the story it was supposed to be would never exist.
On the other hand, once I start, the snowball inevitably rolls down and gains mass. It cannot be stopped.
Other times, like with my current project, I have little more than a couple of words to build from. Insert your own “tiny seed becomes a might oak” metaphor here.
Thanks for joining in, and making me laugh.