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Shirley Ann Parker

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Patricia Highsmith Understood
7/5/2008 6:03:01 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

If you can find an article from the November 1964 issue of The Writer (reprinted in February 2008), there is a wonderful article by suspense novelist Patricia Highsmith. As we all know, or eventually learn, writers must write or go crazy from the frustration of dealing with our chaotic lives. At the same time, we often have heavy obligations that are not of our own choosing.

In the above article, Patricia gives her invaluable rules for writing, including a discussion about losing one's enthusiasm for a story when faced with constant opposition. In stronger terms than "frustration" she refers to reality, people, obligations and nonprivacy. Even thinking about a story when surrounded by other people can destroy it, something I had not realized.

My conclusion from reading the article is that I and all writers must find a way to continue the creative process. Easier said than done when we work full-time at other pursuits, but we have to build time into our days, or at least our weeks, that is just for us. We need solitude.

When leaving the office means going home to change clothes so we can keep right on working, something is wrong. Leaving the office "brain-dead" wastes even more time in unwinding, even when someone at home has done the breakfast and (their) lunch dishes before we get home.

In today's worrisome economy, just having a job is a blessing, but we have to leave it behind before we hit the button for the elevator. And certainly before we pull out into traffic. In today's world of unlicensed, uninsured, arrogant drivers, getting behind the wheel demands our full attention. That means we can't work on our novel on the road either!

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More Blogs by Shirley Ann Parker
• Welcoming 2012 - Tuesday, January 03, 2012
• One down and two to go - Thursday, November 24, 2011
• Cannot believe the holidays are upon us - Friday, November 11, 2011
• Plumbing Nightmares - Monday, September 26, 2011
• This month it's been marketing - Saturday, August 13, 2011
• Venturing further into e-books - Sunday, July 24, 2011
• And the foreclosures continue - Saturday, July 02, 2011
• A Satisfying Genealogy Conference - Tuesday, June 21, 2011
• Between the Spaces of A Writer's Life - Saturday, June 04, 2011
• Time to Move Forward - Friday, December 10, 2010
• I have lost an entire year but... - Friday, December 10, 2010
• Now here's a situation for you! - Tuesday, April 14, 2009
•  Patricia Highsmith Understood - Saturday, July 05, 2008  
• This isn't the life I ordered - Sunday, March 02, 2008
• California Wildfires - Saturday, November 10, 2007
• Life as it is lived - Friday, October 05, 2007
• Are you a Notary Public? - Monday, June 04, 2007
• Time is flying by...much too fast! - Sunday, May 20, 2007
• Reminder! The Ballad of Billy Lee - Saturday, December 02, 2006
• To My Reviewers - Friday, November 24, 2006
• The Ballad of Billy Lee - save the date! - Monday, October 09, 2006
• Being lethargic or daydreaming? - Sunday, September 03, 2006
• A Lone Voice Can Make a Difference - Monday, August 14, 2006
• To report or to comment - Thursday, May 25, 2006
• Mallards at a business park? - Sunday, April 30, 2006
• Mobile Home Alert! - Tuesday, April 11, 2006
• Heard about Book Millionaire? - Thursday, April 06, 2006
• Well, the results are in.... - Monday, March 13, 2006
• Pins and Needles Time - Monday, February 20, 2006
• A Little Disappointed with the Writers' Conference - Tuesday, February 07, 2006
• A Dream Scrambling to Survive - Sunday, January 15, 2006
• An After-Christmas Sale - Sunday, January 08, 2006
• Happy New Year! - Saturday, December 31, 2005
• It's Over for Another Year - Monday, December 26, 2005
• What Do We Write in December? - Sunday, December 18, 2005

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