Writing Tips

From Molly Peacock:

Find Just Twenty Minutes!

One thing I hear from writers is that they don't have time to write.  But I give an assignment when I teach a "sonnet studio" workshop where I ask the writers to write a fourteen-line poem.  I give them twenty minutes.  Just about everyone finishes.  What if you set a clock for twenty minutes and asked yourself to compose fourteen lines?  Everyone has twenty minutes at some point during a day -- it's only a third of a lunch hour! A book can get written steadily.  Just think, if you wrote those fourteen lines five days a week, you'd have material for a book by the end of a year.  I'm not saying to get up at 4:30am like Anthony Trollop.  After all, Trollop had a servant who got up at 4 am and made him tea!  But a poem on a lunch hour is possible.  It's possible with breakfast.  It's possible instead of watching the news.  The news will catch up with you, and so will all the tasks of your day.  But if you write the poem first, then the whole day shakes out differently:  you know who you are.

A poet and a creative nonfiction writer, Molly Peacock is the author of six books of poetry including The Second Blush and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems. A Poetry juror for the Literary Awards in 2006, she is currently working on ways to connect young adults to poetry through her work with the College Boards and Advanced Placement English.

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