On the IWW writing list one writer asked what we all thought about Priscilla Long’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. Of course I had to look on Amazon, read the reviews,  and I was surprised that the all eleven reviews were five stars. Then to put the cherry on top of the cake, another member of the writing list saw several iterations of the book–from photocopies of the assignments to completed draft–and said that Priscilla’s workshops were incredible.

Well, if you read this blog often, you know that I had to plunk down my $12.00 and get a copy. Lucky for me I was able to preview a few pages before hitting the “proceed to checkout” button. The pages I read were from Amazon’s Look Inside feature and that’s exactly what I did. I went to the first chapter and the first sentence in boldface and in small caps says, “Writing every day is the key to becoming a writer.” I know that, you know that, right? And, I’m pleased to say that I write every day. I have to that’s what pays the bills.

BUT, I’m not writing FICTION every day, nor am I writing what Priscilla’s coins the “fifteen-minute write” or writing in a journal. Although I try to post here often, there are days I have nothing to say. Or maybe I’m just too busy with HAND/EYE writing assignments. Nevertheless, every time I read about morning pages, keeping a journal, stream of conscious writing, or working on daily on your WIP, it nags at me because I know it’s something I should do instead of putzing away the morning with nonsense. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but it seems I’m not the only person who has this trouble. For instance, I’ve been trying to keep up with other writing blogs and what do I see this morning in my mailbox? Kathy Crowley’s post, “Getting it Done” in Beyond the Margins.

Kathy asked several authors and bloggers how they actually get the words on a page and complete their work. The tactics are different, but for the most part it’s sheer determination to finish. I know that feeling. I experience it every week with every online issue that we put out for HAND/EYE Magazine. So why not use that “Gotta get it done” attitude with Julius? That’s a question probably best set aside for the analyst’s couch.  However, I can say is that it feels like I’m doing a long calculus equation and somewhere along the line I realize that one of my variables is wrong. So I go back and try to find and fix it, but I simply don’t see it, and now I’ve reached this bottleneck of numbers and Greek symbols all falling into each other, getting tangled, and me getting increasingly frustrated because I can’t find the solution to the equation.

Sometimes it’s best to walk away, let it rest, and look at the problem refreshed, but fear usually gets in the way. You think, that you won’t be able to find the problem and fix it, and then the procrastination starts. Ultimately you discover that six months down the road you’re still battling the same mess. So what to do? Throw in the towel, start something new, or persevere? I’ve done both, but Julius deserves the “Gotta get it done” ‘tude.

So I’ll keep writing here and report on my progress, lament my bottlenecks, vent my frustrations of what’s not working, and rejoice over those aha moments because at the end of the day it boils down to one thing and that’s writers write, right?


  • Thanks, Lewis. I’m actually very excited about this book because of some of the brick walls I’ve hit and I think I really need some guiding light. From the reviews, this seems to be the ticket.

  • And you write well Rebeca. You have a great flow with your words. I think the sentence “it feels like I’m doing a long calculus equation. . . ” is a fantastic line. I laughed out loud. I could identify with that feeling both in the math sense and the life sense. Kick your own ass. You have a cool attitude, in my opinion, a little bit of an edge with a bunch of other things thrown in and a lot of skill in writing. Keep it going.

    • My pleasure, Kathy. I think the only way to get it done is to make writing a daily practice until it forms into a habit. Like exercise, meditation, alcoholism, drugs (I’m kidding on those), sugar, coffee (not on those). We have to make it an integral part of our being. Now if I only would follow my advice…