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Pablo Neruda's Writing Desk
Today is week one, day three of my sabbatical and I am still in my pajamas. My goal of getting to my writing studio early in the morning, again unmet. Yet, yesterday I worked on two poems and made some headway on my current project. So why beat myself up?

Because I have, I bet most writers have, an image in our heads of the writing life. Unfortunately, my writing habits do not mesh with the pristine desk, the gorgeous beach view pictured in the photograph above. I write in a converted garage -- a gorgeous one to my mind -- but no ocean view.

One of my goals at the moment is to accept the way I write. Accept that I get things done in my own style, my own time frame. Yes, I have a deadline (for poems!) at the moment and that's bringing my fears into bas relief -- but I can get things done and sleep in. I hope.

Staying away from the internet is one thing that helps me write. And yet there are lots of resources on the internet that also help inspire me. One of these is the newsletter that my friend Midge Raymond, author of Forgetting English puts out every other month. I've excerpted it here and added a link. Midge reminds me that I am not alone, that sometimes simple ideas are best (choose a moment from the summer and write about it!) and that all writers struggle. Here's to a beautiful struggle -- one that I am glad to have in my life. What's the line from the movie "A League of Their Own"?  Tom Hanks tells the complaining all-women's baseball team "It's hard, it's supposed to be hard-- that's what makes it great."

From Midge Rayomond's September Newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter for free and it will come to your inbox once every other month. Just click here.

Writing Tip: 1. Log off for awhile. I noticed this summer that, like many, I suffer from a slight addiction to my digital devices as well as to multitasking. In an effort to confront the problem, I began to spend more time offline and unplugged -- and was astonished by how positively this affected my writing. Take the little quiz on my blog to see if you have similar issues with busyness -- and then try logging out for a while and see how it affects your creativity. 

Writing Exercise of the Month: In the spirit of "what I did over my summer vacation," as well as generating new material for a new season, choose one moment from this summer and write about it. Whether it was a conversation you had or one you overheard, a party you attended or a party you missed, a day at the office or a night at the beach, choose a moment from your summer and write two pages. Let the moment evolve and become a story, essay, or poem that takes you wherever it wants to go. 
FOLLOW-UP: Over the summer, I offered the writing exercise "Choose one piece to polish up and submit in the fall." How'd it go? I'd love to hear about your writing successes, so do keep in touch about your accomplishments!


  1. I adore the desk! Is that a picture I could use on an upcoming post on Neruda? Let me know, please!

    On another note, I totally get the digital device addiction. To me, it's a whole new form of procrastination.

    Would you consider doing a guest post on my blog sometime? You could write whatever you want. Let's chat about it sometime soon. (gingercatranch at gmail dot com).

    Take care,


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