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Aimee Bender Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 9.29.10

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“Rules. I'm a big believer in structure, and the idea that creativity loosens up when constrained a bit. I like to set a firm time for my writing; you could make a word count limit, (250 words today and I cannot leave the computer until it is done!) or set a timer and write for thirty minutes, or make a rule that you can only write from 8 to 8:30 and you must stop at 8:30. No email. No Internet. No getting the phone. No snacks. No working on that other piece of writing that is for work and not related to your fiction/poetry/memoir. No yoga. Take an hour and just sit there and it may be so uncomfortable that something will eventually happen. I often have to sit through a lot of restlessness to get to the work, but the restlessness, in my mind, can be a clue that there's something interesting and unknown up ahead, something unfamiliar. Or as Adam Phillips, a British psychoanalyst, has said: Boredom is just the process of waiting for oneself. The rules are arbitrary but they must hold firm. I find this incredibly helpful.”
Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (Doubleday, 2010)

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