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JOAN BARTH ON: SCHEDULES

December 14, 2009

Two weeks ago, I had an accident; I fell head first down the concrete steps into my basement. During the five hours I lay there, I realized that my unfinished book was unimportant. What was important was the way I lead my life. My daughter calls me “The No Matter What Lady.” No matter what I stick to my schedules. When writing a book, having a schedule helps when the unexpected happens. Unable to write new chapters at first, I added two weeks to my deadlines but I didn’t abandon them. Thanks to God, Advil and Arnica, I am healing and my mind is once again in full gear.

Writing a novel demands creative thinking. My creativity arrives in fits and starts. And that is how I write — in fits and starts. Some writers write three hours every morning but authors, unlike writers, create and that cannot be scheduled. I am an author. An author is a person who makes an original something or whose profession is making up stories written into books. A writer is any person who writes — even letters or a diary or e-mails. Nearly everyone is a writer, only some of us are authors.

Writing nonfiction on issues that have been surveyed thoroughly is easier for me than authoring my own ideas for fiction. I find being an author requires using resources. Aids, such as deadlines, help. One of the aids I use is a sheaf of blank sheets of paper and pencils in spots everywhere. So if I am watching TV, the pile of blank papers next to my chair says that I am not using my creativity.

What aids do you use?

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