Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Poetry vs Fiction Writing

It strikes me that novel writing and editing promotes routine. Whereas poetry and short story writing often do not. For me, anyway. With a novel there’s the sense of having to get back to it, day in, day out. It’s good.
That’s not to say that I don’t get to the desk every day when I’m not working on a novel or short stories; it just seems to keep me concentrating there for long hours, more so than poetry, which is what I am mostly working on these days.
Yes, I sit down every day, but because of the shortened attention span needed, or the flitting back and forth over the work, I have more room in my head for other concerns: the internet, reviewing, submitting work etc.
There’s a sense of ‘full speed ahead’ with longer fiction, whereas poetry seems to promote a gentler work ethic. Still, once I am writing at all, I am happy. I had been thinking for ages what a gift it would be to have the time/headspace just to work on poetry (normally there are so many fictions cluttering up my head.) Now, in my fallow fiction period, I am getting to do just that and it’s interesting. I am embracing it more as time goes on, reading more poetry than ever, writing more than ever in one big push. It’s satisfying and strange to me.

2 comments:

Tania Hershman/The Short Review said...

I have been pondering your post ever since you put it up. It rings true with me, especially now that I am constructing a Room of My Own With Door (aka garden shed). I am wondering how much time I will actually be in there, given that I am writing short stories and there is not that "full speed ahead" feeling. With my stories, I can only get to a certain point and then I know I must stop and wait, otherwise it will start feeling forced. I can only imagine that poetry is similar, perhaps even slower. Your comments seem to free me to accept the "gentler work ethic"! I am glad you are getting time for poetry, and there is definitely nothing wrong with also spending time on the internet, reviewing and submitting.

I guess what I am saying is that if a thing takes up a certain amount of time, no use sitting there for extra hours because a writer "should" stare at blank pages. We all have the way we work and we should give ourselves space, but not to an extreme!

T

Women Rule Writer said...

Hi T, thanks for reading.
Yes, I think my 'problem' is I am worried that the fiction is not flowing. I am used to my writing being about short stories. All of a sudden there's a change and I am not sure what's caused it. BUT I am trying to embrace this new 'way' of writing and be positive about it. Instead of worrying whether I'll ever write another story again!
I have a new routine since September (5 mornings to write, instead of 2 full days) so maybe I'm still adjusting to that.
Thanks again for your thoughts,
WRW x