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November 11, 2011 / benrovik

Writing at Home

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“In truth, I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways. It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”  Stephen King

As a graduate of a college program that involved extensive pearl-making seminars with other oysters, I cringed a little when I read this one.  But that dig at writers’ workshops aside, I think the main point is right on the money.

It’s impossible not to get distracted while writing– by your bladder, if nothing else.  So rather than getting stressed or frazzled about not having a calm enough environment to create art, toughening your skin so you can still do your thing in a tough room seems to me like the much more productive way forward.

I wrote whole scenes of my play Heart of Gold in a crowded dressing room during performances of Oliver!  I’d go out and do the choreography for “Consider Yourself,” then go get some writing done in the 15-20 minutes before heading back onstage for “Who Will Buy?”  This is, of course, while the foulest nonsense you can imagine is being tossed back and forth by other people in the dressing room, with our little Oliver shrieking with laughter in the rare moments when he was backstage long enough to hear it.

So props to you, Stephen King.  You’ve made me respect oysters again.

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