Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reading Instead of Writing

Perhaps it’s not the oldest trick in the book but, for me, substituting reading for writing definitely feels like cheating. After spending the morning putting final touches on the dances for Bugsy Malone, I “took myself out to lunch” at Barnes & Noble. Three (expensive) writing magazines and a grande decaf mocha later, I had discovered several intriguing playwriting workshops, some neat fiction contests, and a screenwriting software bargain BUT could make use of none of these because I had created NO LITERARY PRODUCT. This brings me to the Writer-on-the-Side dilemma du jour: What is the best way to divide your time between creative writing, career development research and education, and the unlovable task of self-promotion? I find it to be a real chicken-or-egg equation. You must discover the contest/publisher/program before you can submit to it but the time and effort required to research such matters eats substantially into the time needed to create quality material to send. (And don't let's even begin to discuss the time it takes to maintain a blog!) I’ve tried daily rules, like “Write 5 pages first, then find 5 places to send work,” and weekly protocols, such as “Write on weekdays, submit on weekends.” The perfect formula continues to elude me. If you’ve found one, you should definitely right a book about it!

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