You Must Write Through Many Bad Sentences

For the past two months, I have been training for a long road race (10 miles) and the parallels between writing practice and running are once again at the forefront of my mind. Yesterday I experienced a terrible run, where I had a nagging pain in my side that slowed me to a crawl, but I kept running through it. Eventually, it went away—proving an important lesson I’ve learned about running and life: most terrible things pass if you’re patient.

That said, you have to also learn to recognize those times when something is truly wrong and you can’t continue as before.

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, writer Jane Delury discusses the importance of showing up and writing regardless of the conditions you find yourself in, no matter how you feel. She writes:

Make peace now, if you haven’t, with the idea of waste: waste of those scribbles, waste of energy, ink, paper, time. (I once wrote a novel that wasted four years.) Also, make peace with boredom. … Meanwhile, off the page, life gallops on. You must write through the wait for the call from the doctor about the biopsy, through the fight with the car insurance company, through the baby crying (no, pick up the baby!), through the misery of the news, through floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, furnace puff backs. And sentences: you must write through many, many bad sentences …

Read the full essay and reflect on how well you show up to do the work, day after day.

Also this month in the Glimmer train bulletin:

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Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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