Pith Off

I have been trying to think of something pithy to say but it seems I am all out of pith. Instead my companion is a headache that’s been with me for over twelve hours. Humidity?  Stress? Too many thoughts not being released?

I have spent the last twelve weeks taking care of children and husband. No writing, just doing for others. Seldom have I been able to escape except for the odd zumba class which has kept me sane. Twelve weeks of doing and being for others. No wonder I have a headache.

The plan today is to write for six hours. I am inspired of Anthony Trollope‘s writing routine.

Every day for years, Trollope reported in his “Autobiography,” he woke in darkness and wrote from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with his watch in front of him. He required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. If he finished one novel before eight-thirty, he took out a fresh piece of paper and started the next. The writing session was followed, for a long stretch of time, by a day job with the postal service. Plus, he said, he always hunted at least twice a week. Under this regimen, he produced forty-nine novels in thirty-five years. Having prospered so well, he urged his method on all writers: “Let their work be to them as is his common work to the common laborer. No gigantic efforts will then be necessary. He need tie no wet towels round his brow, nor sit for thirty hours at his desk without moving,—as men have sat, or said that they have sat.”

The New Yorker, June 14, 2004

Elizabeth Gilbert in her inspiring talk on creativity on TED reminds us that the muse is not within us but beside us.

“When I was in the middle of writing Eat Pray Love and I fell into one of those pits of despair that we will fall into when we’re working on something that’s not coming and we think ‘this is going to be a disaster, this is going to be the worst book I’ve ever written — not just that but the worst book ever written … So I just lifted my face up from the manuscript and I directed my comments to an empty corner of the room and I said aloud ‘ Listen you, thing! You and I both know that if this book isn’t brilliant that is not entirely my fault, right? Because you can see I am putting everything I have into this, I don’t have any more than this, so if you want it to be better then you’ve got to show up and do your part of the deal, OK? But you know what? If you don’t do that then I’m going to keep writing because that’s my job and I would please like the record to reflect today that I showed up and did my part of the job!


Yeah! *high fives Trollope and Gilbert*




2 thoughts on “Pith Off”

  1. I’m reminded of an unemployed Daddy Bowen reading Anthony Robbins (how to be a millionaire in 5 easy steps) in bed, 11am on a Tuesday. Lips – “Is Step 1 get out of bed?”.

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