Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It’s taken me way too long to understand that, in order to have the stamina to write, I need to spend some part of my day moving. Which is why I’m grateful to my family for the gift of Wii, a device that makes “exercising” feel like play (another thing I’m beginning to understand is essential).

The details would be too boring to write about, much less read about, though I may decide to do just that the next time I need to stretch the writing a little. For now, however, it’s challenging enough to actually sit down to the assignments I’ve given myself. My body conspires against it, as does my mind. There are so many reasons to not write: laundry, a crossword to complete, some TV show, the swarf of everyday life. There are so many reasons to not write this specific thing: fear of exposure, fear of not getting it right, fear of not discovering the essential truth that will raise my memoir over the swamp of solipsism. Plus, who cares?

So many reasons not to write, and only one reason to write—I simply must.

Yet there are days when settling into the words is challenging and I must exercise that most flabby of muscles, my resolve.

My friend Jamie Cat Callan—whose books include the charming French Women Don’t Sleep Alone—developed a wonderful thing called The Writer’s Toolbox. It’s full of first line prompts, non sequesters and these cool little spinning wheels, all designed to help writers exercise the “write” side of their brains.

It makes me wish I were focusing on fiction right now. As I’m putting most of my energy into writing my memoir, I don’t have a lot of time left over for fiction but I’m warning you: it may happen and it may happen here. This is, after all, a thing I’m doing to help me get the words out—an exercise, much like the games I played with the Wii this morning.


tinawrites said...

Well put Elizabeth. Jamie is a friend of mine too. Great minds.....

The Writer's Toolbox is awesome. I've given it as gifts to a few people.

I'm on my way to the gym right now! See you later.

David Robinson said...

Hi, Elizabeth,
A new chapter in your work. I like it, and I like the design and the title. I'll have to explore the Writer's Toolbox.

I agree with the need to move and exercise to get your mental and physical energy moving---also making time just to "moodle"--not doing much but letting the inner processes progress that help a writer bring good work to the surface.

David R.

Anne Sussman said...

I so want to Wii with you.