Creative Action

Quoting Leonard Cohen from the book Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo

Before I can discard the verse, I have to write it… I can’t discard a verse before it is written because it is the writing of the verse that produces whatever delights or interests or facets that are going to catch the light. The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.

The website Brain Pickings reviewed Songwriters on Songwriting as
“[An] excellent and extensive treasure trove…[The] insights on songwriting extend to the broader realm of creative work in a multitude of disciplines…A magnificent read in its hefty totality.”

Read more here.

Writing Notes

Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.  ~ Michael Crichton

Notes on giving feedback on WIP (work in progress)

The basics:

  • Start Positive
  • End Positive

Some pointers:

  • address comments to the WIP and not the writer such as “I didn’t understand this sentence…” as opposed to “You need to…”
  • it might help to begin with a summary of what you got from the piece, what you thought it was about
  • tell the author what worked and why – point out strengths
  • tell the author what didn’t work and why it didn’t work for you – make suggestions to strengthen the work – don’t just leave them hanging with “I didn’t like this.” or “This doesn’t work for me.”
  • it’s important to know the difference between your own personal style of writing and preferences in terms of writing style and try to separate these from your critiques >if you are not familiar or comfortable with the genre or writing style then it may be best to not comment on the WIP but small editing elements like spelling and punctuation can still be offered

Take time and effort when giving feedback > read the piece in advance, make notes, offer suggestions, be supportive and encouraging.

Here is a helpful pdf on Creative Writing workshop critiquing from Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors.

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Robert Cormier