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  #11  
Old 07-13-2018, 03:15 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I don't have a writing routine because I have a full-time teaching job in a secondary school, my wife also works full-time and we have 11 year old twins. Oh, and I have a (wonderful) 24 year old daughter who likes to pop by with her boyfriend unexpectedly for the weekend in search of free beer and Indian meals. Nobody will allow me the luxury of cloistering myself away with a 'do not disturb' sign on the door. Besides, on the rare occasion when I do have 'alone time' (Rebecca taking twins overnight to her friend's who has kids) I build up the idea of precious solitude in my head and then inevitably sit frustrated in front of a blank sheet of paper. It doesn't seem to work like that.

But I'm always writing. By 'writing' I mean I'm constantly mumbling half-formed lines to myself in my head, obsessively panicking that I'll never write a poem again, staring into space, and jotting things down on bits of paper which I then lose. And jabbing away at the sphere, of course. All this results in me not focussing as I should at work and mixing up simple words at home, like 'fridge' when I mean 'washing machine'.

But then sometimes, suddenly, all the mumbling, panicking and staring into space coalesces into a poem which usually comes very quickly. I can feel that it's ready and I might write it parked in the car or I go to the pub for an hour after work. Then it's just tinkering. Lots of my poems happen in the pub.

Maybe I should build a shed...

Edit: or I get up in the middle of the night and sit on the chair in the garden with a blanket and a notebook. That's resulted in a few good ones!

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-13-2018 at 03:48 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2018, 06:00 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murtha View Post
...Wodehouse, throughout the letters, offers a lot of down-to-earth and often humorous (humourous) advice to writers.
Patrick,
Whilst you guys have humor and we have humour (for some reason!), we're totally agreed on humorous, because ''humourous" doesn't even exist!!

"Two nations divided [but hey! only partially] by a common language"

Jayne
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2018, 07:35 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Mark: "mixing up simple words at home, like 'fridge' when I mean 'washing machine'."
My solution to this problem is to refer to every item whose name escapes me as 'thingy.'

Cheers,
John

I've pretty much been writing a poem a day since 2012. Not always good or long ones, but it's a useful discipline for me. I mostly write them before folks are up (my wife and our son). Lots of dawn poems.

Oh - also, I essentially never compose verse directly on the computer. It's longhand.

Last edited by John Isbell; 07-14-2018 at 04:53 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-14-2018, 08:56 AM
Justin Goodlow Justin Goodlow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Besides, on the rare occasion when I do have 'alone time' (Rebecca taking twins overnight to her friend's who has kids) I build up the idea of precious solitude in my head and then inevitably sit frustrated in front of a blank sheet of paper. It doesn't seem to work like that.
Haha! I've been there before.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:34 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Originally Posted by John Isbell View Post
I've pretty much been writing a poem a day since 2012. Not always good or long ones, but it's a useful discipline for me.
Do you rewrite? How much time do you devote to rewriting? Do you go over poems again before you submit? Do you revisit them? Is the emphasis on getting out a poem a day, or on writing the best possible poem you can. Is that morning spent writing the poem just the very start of the creative process, or is each poem essentially done - bango - on to the next - every day? Do you rewrite and rethink when you transfer the poem to the computer?

Personally. I think that the working and reworking and rereworking the poem - and then putting it aside for a month and reworking again - the amount of effort you put into a poem before you think it's possibly ready - is a lot more important than whether you use a 2H pencil or where and how you write. And I have the feeling that more members than usual are putting up early drafts, and depending too much on the Sphere to help finish the poem. One of the dangers of the Sphere is that it encourages this.

I'm at my own nutty end of the spectrum. I have a dozen or more poems in process at a time, I may not look at one for a month or more and then go back to it, I rarely "finish" a poem in less than a month from when I first had the idea, and it's often a year, I'm lucky if I grind out a poem a month that I'm happy with - I look at possible rewrites every time I submit - and I never stop kicking at the tires. And then I post a poem from time to time, and still get good suggestions and make changes.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 07-14-2018 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Stupidity
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  #16  
Old 07-14-2018, 12:21 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is online now
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I think I'm much more like Michael and Mark than John or Justin. I'm always thinking and keeping my eyes open. I have a ton of files on my computer that have a line or an image. Sometimes the juxtaposition of two will make it work, sometimes nothing ever comes. I go through phases where I'll write 3-5 in a week, and then a month where a write nothing complete.

Those "complete" poems then usually get tinkered with a bit, and then ignored for a little while (two to three days on the short end, months on the longer end). Then I give them another re-write, and if I like them (or if I'm stuck), I'll post them here. Occasionally I get over-ambitious and post earlier than I might, but always one I'm enthusiastic about, and never one that from conception to completion is less than a week old and survived fewer than 2-3 drafts.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:28 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Michael,
I suspect that your modus operandi is the way it is for many of us; it certainly is for me! (I like "I never stop kicking at the tires". That's a great way to put it.)

A poem a day for six years, John?? That's some output! I'm impressed that you've managed to keep it up. (Was Mike hinting at quantity v quality, I wonder? )

"Lots of dawn poems", you say. "Dawn'' is pretty much unknown to me (except, perhaps, when having to get to an airport), being a night owl. I definitely function better in the wee small hours after midnight.

But I agree about the first words going onto paper rather than a screen. I like sitting up in bed with a cup of tea, an A4 lined pad, a pencil, and a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary to hand, just in case.

Jayne
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  #18  
Old 07-14-2018, 01:37 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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You have 12 going at the same time, Michael? My god. When I was younger, I'd get obsessed with one and put my head through a wall trying to work it out. I do think valuable advice about habits would include having a handful going on at the same time. Working on one can unstuck another. Now I just have 3, but I think it's good to bounce from one to the other.
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:42 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Yes, the thesaurus and the rhyming dictionary are a must. I know it's all on line now, but there's something tangible about leafing through those butter and mustard and salami impregnated pages that brings out the intangible in me.
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  #20  
Old 07-14-2018, 02:56 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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I don't believe in magic. I believe in putting in time in a chair at a desk for 1-4 hours most days, now that I don't have a full-time job anymore. Sometimes I work on a computer; sometimes I start on paper before switching to a computer. I often get ideas while taking a shower or drying my hair, but the real work starts after the initial ideas. I don't tend to work on more than one poem at a time. Usually, I write a poem in a day, two or three days at most, but I tend to revise them over a week, at least, after I have posted them for feedback. Really short poems tend to take less time, longer ones more time. If I am getting no ideas for poems, I usually have several authors I like to translate, and I will pick up a poem by one of them and work on it for a while. I am not a morning person, so most of my work time is in the afternoon, or sometimes the evening. I jot down notes on scraps of paper or online if I get an idea when I don't have time to work on it. Many of those notes never lead to poems, but a few do, and sometimes years after I got the initial idea.

Susan
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