»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Elissa Washuta Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 8.21.14

“Over the last seven years, as I have worked to write and revise my first book and then claw a second one out of my gut, I’ve heard too many times that any successful writing practice will involve a minimum daily word count, good and round, or a slavish devotion to page and screen, no matter the quality of what comes. This advice used to make me insecure about my own practice, which, early in my book-building process, included stretches as long as a summer without writing. I have learned that there are plenty of ways to show up at one’s work: incessant contemplation, research, and the unconscious mapping of structure that might come as the body moves in the world. For a while, I tried to forgive myself for not writing every day, but now that the work of my first memoir is complete, I realize that taking long breaks, pacing my work, and allowing for retreat is nothing that needs forgiveness: My brain was protecting itself as it turned traumatic memory into crafted prose. An unflagging commitment to output might have gutted me. Now, with patience, I write when I feel that the work has begun to make itself inside of me.”
—Elissa Washuta, author of My Body Is a Book of Rules (Red Hen Press, 2014)

Reader Comments

  • cmbyl says...

    I too have a very physcial process, with long incubation periods and actual lines composed in my head, whole sentences, dialogue, while I move through the world. I have often tried to explain it to others, but have never heard it put it better than this: "I write when I feel that the work has begun to make itself inside of me.” Thank you.

  • C J says...

    Thank you for this. Beautifully put.

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2015. All Rights Reserved