Guest post: “How to Begin Writing” by Emilie Loring

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My writing desk

Right now, I am diving in deep to finish Emilie Loring’s biography.  I spend eight to ten hours each day going through notes, thinking, sketching out the story path, scribbling ideas, writing, reading, and re-writing.

Near me, on my bulletin board, are Emilie Loring quotes that guide and encourage me, by turns. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up and been rewarded by just the right quote at just the right time.

Emilie Loring did more than write thirty best-selling novels.  She also spoke to schools and writers’ groups about the writing process.  Today, my mentor is helping out by providing this blog post, so I can keep in touch with all of you and still make progress today on the book.   Let’s let her take over.

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Emilie Loring’s writing desk in Maine

“The only way to begin writing is to begin.  The opening sentence or paragraph doesn’t necessarily remain as first written, it may be changed a dozen times, but the mere act of putting it on paper is like pressing the self-starter of a car.

“You’re off.  After that, it is a question of the construction and endurance of your mental engine, of the quality of gas used to keep it going which must be rich in determination and the urge for improvement of ideas and style.”

desk
“One must keep everlastingly at it.” Emilie Loring’s desk in Boston

“Doubtless writing forbears have helped, but I have worked, how I have worked, studying, reading, writing, rewriting, doing my best and everlastingly trying to make that best, better… I never leave a page, a sentence, until it is as well written as I know how to write it.”

This is true.  The first quote actually looked like this in her notes:

The only way to begin a novel writing is to begin.  The opening sentence or paragraph doesn’t necessarily remain as first written, it may be changed a dozen times, but the mere act of putting it on paper is like kicking pressing the self-starter of a car.  

“I have heard it argued that one should keep one’s public in mind.  I’m afraid I don’t.  I can’t imagine anything more destructive to spontaneity and inventiveness than to create with one ear of the mind turned inward to listen to the imagination and the other outward to listen to the reading public.”

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Emilie Loring’s vacation spot, Blue Hill, Maine

“A writer who is determined to make good should cut the word ‘discouragement’ from her vocabulary.”

“Now, I am faring forth on a vacation.  When I return, just watch my yellow pencils smoke.”

Wisconsin lake vacation
My vacation spot in Wisconsin

I just took a trip to my family’s lake home in Wisconsin.  I swam, paddled, and sunned to my heart’s content, breathing in the crisp, pine air.  Now, I’m back and ready.  Just watch my Pilot G-2s smoke.

EL imagination quote

Oooh!  Something exciting just happened!  You’ll find out about it in our next guest post!

 

 


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