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Listening to NPR today, suddenly had an insight

Earlier today, on the radio show Q, the cultural magazine from Canada.  Jian Gomeshi interviewed the music duo, Civil Wars.  John Paul White said that he writes songs that he loves, and doesn’t try to match his most popular songs.

I’ve written some numinous poems that audiences love.  But I find the more I write these poems that feel dictated from the Beyond.  I realize that I try to match these poems, instead of letting them go and writing a poem that I love.  That causes me to be blocked as a poet.  It is why some writers kill themselves after a first successful novel because they think they must match the brilliance of the first novel.  And imitation, even imitating yourself, is a quick trip to writer’s block.

I am writing the second novel– the one I am currently working on– is fun.  I am writing it for myself, not anyone else and I am amazed by the intuitive leaps in character, setting and plot.  By not giving a damn, I find that I am writing the novel that I want to be writing, but if I insisted on writing the novel that was compelling, I would have been blocked.

Thank you, John Paul White.

 

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