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"The Accidental Writer"

I get a lot of encouraging letters from people
who say nice things about my writings...
songs, articles, and stories.
Itís a real incentive to write more.

Most of my writing
seems to me to be accidental.
By that I mean:
I have never planned or plotted a story or song in my life.
I donít know how.

I usually let my mind wander into a situation,
real or imaginary,
and the pictures unfold in front of me.
I just take down what happens, as it happens.

I donít know what the ending will be
until it ends.
Iím as surprised as everybody else.

I seldom know the title of a song
until the rest of it is done.
I often have a temporary working title
but itís usually replaced
and demoted to a line somewhere in the piece.

Any craftsmanship I may have comes later,
when I go in and heartlessly edit the whole thing,
trying to get rid of all phrases that donít add to the story,
and replacing all words that are almost right
with ones that are closer to right.

I donít like fill-in lines.
Iíd rather have it short.
Or, maybe a better word is ďtightĒ.

In school sports I was a good sprinter
but not good in any race over 100 yards.
I did okay in football, baseball, and hockey
because the action is in spurts.
My writing limitations are the same...
short all-youíve-got bursts.

I like composing song lyrics.
because theyíre miniatures,
like little pieces of jewelry.

Working out the music part is fun
because the secret of music is surprises.

The music can come first, last, or along with the words.
No formula works for me all the time.

Iím telling you this
because people are often interested in how writers work.
I know I am.

I would write even if I never got paid...
which is somewhat true.

Some guys play golf.

Copyright © June 27, 2005 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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