Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Further on obsessions with writing

On the bus this morning, I started to write a post recording the path I followed in my current somewhat obsessive desire to be a writer. Tonight we went to drinks at a friend's house who has been able to make the jump to full time writing, I felt so envious.

Maybe one day I will bring up this morning's post. However, it was a bit too revealing for my taste.

To write professionally, you have to be obsessive. You also need to know certain techniques. Of the two, obsession is the most important.

I did not have  have the techniques when I was younger. I learned these. But then, I didn't have the obsession either. My friends such as Alex Buzo who did make the jump were obsessive.

Today, potential writers have access to so much more than I had: writer festivals, writer's workshops; the list goes on. The things I wrestled with in a technical sense are, if not solved, at least reduced to techniques. Yet without the focused obsession, things don't happen or happen more slowly.

Thinking on the bus, If I had to give advice to a young writer today I would say just two things.

First, the only way to learn to write is to write: write, write and then write again.

Secondly, keep a writer's diary. You need this for raw material, regardless of the writing you want to do and in what medium. With a writer's diary you can record not just ideas, not just the world around you, but also experiments in writing.  


Anonymous said...


On Manias and Obsessions, wherein I found graphomania, epomania, hexametromania, metromania.

Also an interesting sidebar of other "stuff".


Anonymous said...


Further to this fellow's obsession with obsessions, I found a book reference you might like:

Bennett, Emmett L., Jr. 1950. Fractional quantities in Minoan bookkeeping. American Journal of Archaeology 54: 204-222.

(Item 73 in his bibliography of numerical notations)

Have a lovely day.

Jim Belshaw said...

David,you do have an art for finding obscure things! I enjoyed that web site.

I think I am going to leave fractional quantities in Minoan bookkeeping aside for the present, unless of course I decide to follow up trade and economic history during the Minoan period! However, the extent to which the Aborigines used numbers is of some interest at the present time!