Monday, August 23, 2010

"Don't Think, Write"

I'm back from my restorative, rejuvenating writing group retreat. Some years we've gone to see a movie while we were up at Lake Dillon - Seabiscuit one year, Julie and Julia last year; one year we went canoeing, sometimes Marie plays her guitar and we sing favorite sixties songs.

This year all we wanted to do was write. Marie sat typing toward a new story at her laptop, Phyllis was furiously taking notes for a forthcoming nonfiction book, I scribbled away on Chapter 7 of Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters.

We did discuss this year's Newbery Winner, When You Reach Me, on Friday night. As I predicted, all five of us adored the book. When we did our ranking of this Newbery against the sixteen others we've read together, it scored in the top THREE, just behind Holes and The Giver, the first Newbery we've totally and completely loved in the decade since Bud and Buddy, in 2000.

We loved Rebecca Stead's wise and generous Newbery acceptance speech, too, especially in contrast to the shocking display of ego in the speech by last year's winner, Neil Gaiman. I think we loved best how Rebecca quotes the writing advice she heard in another speech by Laurie Halse Anderson: "Don't think. Write." Rebecca told her audience that she labeled her computer file for When You Reach Me, "don't think."

I think it was this advice from Laurie and Rebecca that helped us to have such a wonderful wekeend of writing, writing, writing. We didn't think. We wrote. There will be time for thinking later. And with the assistance of a supportive and insightful critique group like mine, the burden of the thinking can be shared.

This was our time to write.

1 comment:

  1. So true about Rebecca Stead! So sorry that I haven't heard or read her acceptance speech. If you have a copy, you know where to send it!