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A Single Technique

Writing is hard work, and like all hard work, one tries to avoid it if possible. Yet writers feel the urge to write, the need to write, and the inspiration to write, but these are not what produces. The writer must have a technique for writing.

Many writers use the approach of fantasizing. They imagine that their article, essay, short story, or novel will make them the great find of the literary world. They see themselves as being lionized by society with recognition and financial success, but that is not reality, and soon the incentive to write disappears so they produce little or nothing.

Others wait for inspiration, a vague, nebulous event which seldom happens. So they bide their time waiting for the muse to send them to the typewriter or keyboard. Sometimes Clio (the muse of history), Erato (the muse of lyric and amatory poetry), Euterpe (the muse of music), Terpsichore (the muse of choral song), or Thalia (the muse of comedy and bucolic poetry) do appear, but most often they do not, and again nothing is accomplished. Since the muse does not arrive, the would be writer does something else.

That something else takes the form of many other distraction. It can be meaningless chores about the office, the kitchen, the yard, any place but at the keyboard. It can be a telephone call, a visit to socialize with a friend, reading to pass the time , or studying the mail. Often the writer excuses this procrastination as necessary to mentally organize what is envisioned, but actually it is to avoid the disciplined task of authorship.

Only one technique is sure to bear fruit, that is to sit down at the typewriter or computer and to write. If at first nothing worthwhile issues, keeping at it will soon result in something acceptable. Usually when writing is difficult, upon review it is impossible to tell what was burdensome and what was effortless. The act of writing is a complex activity that is honed by practice, practice, and more practice, so sitting and writing is of utmost importance to any author.

Of all the techniques used, the most important is to sit down and write.

Charles O. Goulet has a BA in history and a BEd in English literature. He has written several historical novels that are available at, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores.

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