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Charlotte Rains Dixon  

My BEST Writing Tip, I Promise

Writing_writer_dark_2531_lHemingway knew it and used it.

I've expounded on it numerous times, including recently. (That juxtaposition of sentences makes it appear that I might be comparing myself to Hemingway, to which I say: bwahahahaha).

It is the single most helpful tip for you to get words on the page, and here it is:


Case in point:

Me, yesterday morning.  I got up at the usual time to work on the novel.  I've been doing some re-organization on it and I planned to finish that up before moving on. After my plot session with Cathy Yardley, I have some changes to make.  However,  I am not going to go back and fuss over the first few chapters.  I am making good notes and writing a few additional scenes, but I'm not going back to change things.  Because that way, madness lies.  And not finishing drafts.

The night before, I had dutifully made some notes of what I wanted to accomplish–where, ahem, I was going–on a little yellow index card.  And that morning I sat down, ready to refer to my notes and get going. 

But I couldn't find the little yellow index card.

Panic in Needle Park!*   (I looked it up! Its a movie!)

I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what I had promised myself I would do.  So I farted around on the internet.  Looked at knitting sites. Read blogs. Checked email, again.

And then finally reminded myself that my brain was stronger than that and I could indeed remember what I had set out to do. So I did it, sort of.  But I'd easily wasted valuable writing time.

And of course, later that day I found the little yellow index card.  And at least the experience reminded me of how important it is to my process to KNOW WHERE I'M GOING.  And it gave me a blog post.

Here's a little something I found for you, since we were talking about Hemingway.  It's his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.  But before you watch it, how about you let on what your best writing tip is?


*Feck is my new favorite British-ism, or at least I'm assuming its British because I picked it up in that silly British novel I just read.

**Don't ask, its something my sister and I say to each other, based on, I think, the name of a long-ago book.

Photo by re_birf used under Creative Commons license.


0 thoughts on “My BEST Writing Tip, I Promise

  1. J.D.

    Such a strange speech from Hemingway. All that talk of “the writer” as if he weren’t speaking of himself. And that quote “. . . if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.” Perhaps he suspected then that his books would long outlive him. I’ve never been gaga over his stories. I liked “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Hills Like White Elephants.” This last one only after I discovered it a couple of years ago and short-circuited my brain trying to figure out what the feck it was about. Snooping around after your post, I just read about “A Moveable Feast” that he pieced together from his escapades in Paris. I have to attempt reading that again. I don’t remember much about it. There were a lot of writers and artists involved, I think. That had to be an interesting time. Or maybe it was just a bunch of people getting drunk on their ass in France. Sound familiar?

  2. Dyoung

    A man beyond his time, that Hemingway was……what a cool guy.

  3. J.D.

    I should become more familiar with him. I’d like to know more about his time in Paris. Maybe try understanding his work more. Much of it was and probably still is a bit over my head. Maybe I can learn something.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    He was pretty awesome.  So was his writing.

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    Hey, who you talking about getting drunk in France?  

    I love "The Sun Also Rises."  It is one of my favorite books ever.  And "A Farewell to Arms."  Haven't read either for awhile, probably should go back to them….

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