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.


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!


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,