Saturday, June 16, 2012

Filling the page at all costs

Here's a good article by Jenny Diski on the LRB blog, reacting to a vogue for apps to combat 'writer's block' and keep the words tumbling onto the page, including Write or Die, an app which apparently starts deleting the words you've already written if you stop writing for more than 45 seconds. 'Don’t write any words,' she suggests, 'and the bastard app can’t delete them. That’ll show it.' Her tone may be joky but her message is deadly serious. She goes on:
If you think you’ve got writers’ block after 45 seconds of not writing, you don’t need an app, you need someone gently to tell you that you should consider the possibility that writing is not just about writing, it’s also (and maybe mainly) about the space in between the writing.
Personally I'd get rid of that 'maybe' and that parenthesis. As she says, writing really is all about waiting and gelling. It's bad enough the book industry turning its back on thoughtfulness and subtlety and complexity, without writers adopting practices likely to spell their doom.