Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How? When? Where?

Burning question: how do you find time to write?

During the day, Jonathan Franzen writes in a dark windowless basement on an old computer with no internet connection. During the evening, Tillie Olson wrote in a laundry room in between ironing shirts. I have written in a notebook during my train ride into work, on the back of an envelope while I was waiting at the doctor’s office, on a computer while my kids were napping in the room next door, their sighs and gurgles on the baby monitor providing occasional punctuation. I built every novel I have ever written in tiny snatches of time, not large blocks of it. Half an hour here. An hour there. Even if all I write is one good sentence, that’s an accomplishment. And that’s how everything is written: one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter at a time. I have friends who write in journals every morning, friends who scribble on index cards during their lunch breaks. Anyone who finds time to walk their dog, run on a treadmill, eat dessert, lay on a beach, bake a pie, or play a hand of poker can find time to write. But anyone who finds themselves continually asking about the how, the when, the where of writing . . . . really needs to look deep in their heart and make sure there is a why. Where there’s a why, there’s a way.

For more responses on burning questions, check out the Liars Club blog.

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