Sage writing advice from Lily Brooks-Dalton…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post by Lily Brooks-Dalton…

Lily Brooks-Dalton (pictured above) was born and raised in southern Vermont. Her memoir, Motorcycles I’ve Loved was a finalist for the 2015 Oregon Book Award and her 2016 novel, Good Morning, Midnight has been translated into many languages and is currently in development for a film.

I’d never before heard of her (but you can bet I’m going to be reading Good Morning, Midnight, after the reviews I’ve read!). Mostly, however, what impressed me was a graceful blog post she wrote for The Center for Fiction. Headlined, “When Working On Your Writing Doesn’t Look Like Writing,” the post offers an alternative way of thinking about the thousand and one things we all do rather than write.

Bake a cake? Tick. Go to Home Depot? Tick. Visit with a friend? Tick. Clean shower tiles? Tick. Brooks-Dalton reassures us that even though these tasks apparently have nothing to do with writing, they still inform our writing selves. Here’s how she puts it:

Lately I’ve begun to see the benefits of all the things I do when my butt is anywhere but in my swivel chair. It’s hard to make space for this, hard to “waste” a day at Home Depot and recognize that The Book was deepening and growing even while I was chasing S-hooks in aisle 12—but that’s exactly what was happening.

The next time you feel bad about how little time you spend on your writing, read this piece to regain perspective. Thanks so much to writer Susan Soriano who forwarded the link to me.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on April 30/18.

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