Sunday, February 1, 2009

Writing--the Perfect Activity in a Bad Economy

blog4 Sometimes I speak at schools about writing. Mostly I want to encourage children to do it. Like reading, writing can be a practically free activity.

Can is, of course, the operative word. It’s possible to spend drop a ton of money buying books, taking classes, attending conferences (see Joyce’s previous post on writing-related courses and conference costs), and purchasing expensive software.

But it really all comes down to you and a piece of paper.

Cheap paper. Spiral notebooks and post-it notes. Dollar store stuff. Several pencils and a couple of decent pens.

You don't need an expensive gym or club membership to write.  You don't have to rent an office or storefront to write.  You can write anywhere. You can write when you’re stuck in a long line at the DMV. You can write in the doctor’s office waiting room. You can write in the car (especially if someone else is driving!) You can write when you’re waiting on a friend. You can write when you’re dining alone. You can write whenever you have a few extra minutes.

It’s cheap. It’s portable. It exercises your brain in ways that few things can.

And writing can be squeezed into a jam-packed day.

Have five minutes? Make a list of the top things you want to accomplish in the chapter you’re writing.

Have ten minutes? Do a little background sketch on a secondary character you don’t know very well.

Twenty minutes? You can write half a page. Or a page. Or edit a page you’ve already written.

The only thing is---there’s really no excuse not to do it. It can be squeezed in. It’s not something you have to cut back on because of the horrible economy. It can be done. And, if it’s really important to you, do it—the pleasure it can bring to you (and others who read something well-written) is one of life’s greatest rewards.

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