Free image courtesy of KathrynMaloney at

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.

Hart Crane

Where I am, we’re soaked in more than words today (flood watches and warnings galore), and I’m happy for sump pumps and hopeful for drier weather, tomorrow.

As for the world of words, I abide by Crane’s advice to flood oneself with words–but I didn’t always. It used to be, I was careful to read one book at a time, careful that it not remind me too closely of the one-and-only-one WIP I was drafting, revising, or editing. These days, I’m not so careful. I’m usually reading three or more books at a time: one craft, one novel, one story collection. I’m usually working on my novel manuscript and a short story concurrently. And, of course, brainstorming the next blog post.

And this doesn’t include the research, reading, and writing I do for a living–for universities and health systems. It used to be I kept this work separate in my mind from the “creative.” But, words are words–and being awash in words of all kinds seems to help this writer pull “the right ones” out when needed (mostly, kinda).

What about you? How best do you write? Any tips you can share?


8 thoughts on “a bit of writerly advice

  1. I write when I can, read when I can, and neither one fast enough. I’ve never been a fast reader. Perhaps this is what drew me to poetry (both reading and writing)–the compression, the strived-for concision.

    I am usually reading 2-3 poetry collections at a time, one novel (usually science fiction) plus some odd bits of non-fiction, (yes) writing-craft books, history, science, religion (Buddhism). I used to worry about my reading influencing my writing unduly, but now I figure it’s inevitable anyway and I don’t remember anything well enough for it to have any overt (i.e. unconscious plagiarizing) effect. I try to think of it all as inspiration.

    Still working of those photos, btw. I’ve got a set just about ready to go, but then you had to go and ask me to come up with some words…… 😉
    Shouldn’t be too much longer. Sorry. I plod like a turtle sometimes, but I do eventually get there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am a slow reader and so envious of those who can read a novel in a night. (I have to live with the thing for a week or more.) Good to know I’m not the only one! I will be thrilled to get your photos–whenever it works for you. I’m not going anywhere! Thank you, as always, for checking in.


  3. Reblogged this on Rust Belt Girl and commented:

    Dug up this this writing advice from a while back–as I close out the week a little early to spend some time with my guys. I might take a day or two of vacay from the blog, but never from books–my constant companions and my kids’. We are a family often drenched in the written word, as Hart Crane would say. I’m reading no fewer than four books right now–a couple books of poems, one non-fiction history, one non-fiction self-help. Just finished Nico Walker’s novel CHERRY, which knocked the wind out of me for fiction for just a moment. (My pseudo-review is under…well, you guessed it.) Happy word-soaking and happy almost-weekend, all!


  4. I used to be much like you where I wanted to read one book at a time, but like you, I’m finding myself reading multiple books at a time and writing multiple blogs at a time (because ideas seem to be flowing freely lately). I have noticed a change in word usage when I write as I have been blogging for the past year and a half and immersing myself in writing books, painting books, memoirs, historical romances, and classic literature. I love words, writing, and reading. Great writerly advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading is what inspires me. I read something and it seems a light goes on and I start thinking on the subject and one thought leads to another. Only problem is – I sometimes can’t stop reading long enough to really follow my own thoughts and get to writing.


    1. I have the same problem sometime. I like to work in cycles–for a few months I’ll read everything I can get my hands on. Then, for a few months I write. Then revise and edit. Then, it’s time to fill my creative tank by reading again. Never should we feel guilty about a love for reading, though!

      Liked by 1 person

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