Writer’s Desk: Practice, Practice, Practice

Do you know Sam Lipsyte? If not, then now is the time to get acquainted. Start off with his novel, The Ask. It’s very … well, just read it. Funny, profane, true; all the best qualities. No One Left to Come Looking For You is coming out later this year and it’s a knockout.

All of which is prelude to why you should listen to what he has to say about writing fiction; which he teaches at Columbia University.

In this interview, Lipsyte talks about the need to stay connected to what you are working on:

… the main thing is always to stay connected to a project. Even if today I might not get to it, I have to look at it—even if it’s 10 minutes or 15 minutes or 20 minutes, even if I just move a comma. An old teacher of mine said, “You pray at the altar every day.” Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you have to go into the document and mess around a little bit, read it, feel it, and then you can go on and do the thing you have to do that day, but you’ll be connected for the next big writing session.

Sometimes, if you are looking for an excuse to procrastinate, not having a couple spare hours to get some pages out is a good one. But Lipsyte is right: Don’t give yourself the out.

Keep praying at the altar.

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