Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Playing with Words

Earlier this week, I created the following as a bit of fun (OK, so I was procrastinating instead of working on my novel!)


Write placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be
in a room of your own.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all publishers.
Write your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive writers,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser writers than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your deadlines.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of publishing.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
especially your book contracts;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what marketing potential there is;
many persons strive for websites and platforms;
and everywhere life is full of shelf hangers.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection for your editor.
Neither be cynical about your rewrites;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
they are as perennial as the grass
and if you don’t improve your novel
you’ll have to rewrite it again.

Take kindly the counsel of your writing group,
gracefully surrendering the things that suck.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you against reviews.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of low sales and deep discounting.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
so many words per day,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a writer of the universe,
no less than the poets and the screenwriters;
you have a right to put words on the page
but not to expect people to appreciate them.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is reading as it should.

Therefore be at peace with your agent,
whatever you conceive him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life
keep peace also with your writer’s soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
the world of books
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Keep writing.

(yes, inspired by the Desiderata).

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