I am there now and enjoying reading it. It is written mostly for beginning writers, which I don't think I am, but I always find it works for me to use the beginner's frame of mind if I want to really learn something. I feel like Dawn and Susan do, in that I don't like cute little gimmicky games and exercises. I want to write about the itches bothering me; I don't want an assignment to write about how I chose my children's names or tell my birth story again. BTDT. So I am ignoring the specific assignments and trying to use some of the advice to strengthen my writing habit and push myself to work when it feels difficult.
I am only a third of the way through the book so I imagine I will post more on this book as I work through it. A couple of responses to the first few chapters:
- Garrigues is really strong on the idea that you should write your "mother's pages", or daily writer's notebook entries in long hand on paper. She give "13 Reasons to Write Your Mother Pages by Hand" on page 30. I want to argue with every one of them. She says writing with a pen is a physical effort and working with your hands is a craft that connects your brain with the medium. I am a keyboarding teacher and I say typing is also a physical effort. I think you use more muscles in your hands to type. I think I can focus more on my thoughts and what I am saying when typing, because it is smoother and easier. I type faster and more fluidly than I write. I have dyslexia, though, and dysgraphia. Perhaps it's different for people whose brains work differently than mine. I really HATE writing with a pen on paper. It makes me angry and frustrated.
- In spite of this, I have (again) started a writer's notebook (on paper) in the past two months. I have done some of the exercises she suggests, and it is working OK. Last night instead of going on the computer I wrote up a "small moment" of a train trip I took with the boys. It was frustrating and took a long time but it went OK. Now I have to rewrite it to type it up as a blog entry, which is a tiresome thought. If I had typed it to start with I could just edit it some and post it. I like keeping lists and prompts in the paper notebook, but do all my drafting on the computer. The only good things I can see about keeping a paper notebook is that it is portable and easier to keep accessible for a long time. I don't see myself having time to write during the day when I am out and about (as Garrigues suggests) anyway, as my kids are too young to be occupied without needing attention.
- I do like the idea she has of writing a disclaimer in the front of your notebook. I always hear that internal critic saying "your handwriting it terrible. Your spelling is atrocious. This is ugly. You have nothing to say. That sounds dumb." and on and on. After I wrote the disclaimer admitting that and turning off the editor I felt so much better!