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COLUMNS
INstruction
January, 2008


Greek Ghosts

Rushing Work
Pause and refresh
By  Helen Dunn Frame

Sunday afternoons, after weeks filled to the ultimate moment, used to be very boring for me as a young girl. Now I wish I could recall those hours that seemed to drag on forever for reviewing whatever I'm writing after letting it lie fallow for a while. Unlike unused cell minutes, that time disappeared forever.

Wasn't it Coca-Cola® that promoted "The Pause that Refreshes"? Not taking the slogan to heart, writers seem to have a penchant for daring to challenge a deadline by procrastinating and not leaving sufficient time to revise their work.

Remember grousing when you've picked up a piece after time has passed and caught obvious errors, "Did I really write it that way?" Most writers seem to be aware that editing their own creations is daunting and not advised. But, sometimes it is necessary. If you don't shove your most recently finished work to the bottom of the pile and turn your focus to something else, when you edit immediately, you are guaranteed to miss obvious changes and to risk rejection slips.
 
For Inkwell Newswatch, I am required to have three columns on the editorial calendar at all times so the editors can better manage the content of the ezine. Usually I try to have more in the hopper, but occasionally life gets in the way despite my penchant for time management. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is an experienced editor read it, but not always because she's too busy. Mostly I try to write and review it several times and still have a week to ignore it before challenging myself to change the prose written in diamonds. However, on larger creations, like a novel, I need a longer period before I can return to it and read it as if I were reading another author's work. How much time you need depends on your style.
 
For you to take time out may require a change in mindset. If you are a writer that needs to complete one endeavour before tackling another, you handicap yourself. Find a way to trick yourself into believing something is complete, and then work on another writing project or perhaps several more, before returning to review your first piece in time to meet a deadline.
 
We seem to be living in a world where everyone is rushing like a movie on fast forward. This is true for all aspects of our lives, not just the creative part. We forget that if we wrote fewer but better pieces or books, we might often see our byline in coveted publications or on the New York Times Best-Seller list.
 
As I've written in other columns, sometimes fate interferes. In essence, it demands we pause until we have a long, lazy afternoon to take the red pen to the hard copy.
 
Yes, I hear you young folks who grew up doing everything on the computer questioning the validity of printing out the work in order to edit. However, I've heard that even for you, it is more difficult to edit on-screen than sitting in a comfortable chair with a cool drink at your side, maybe your pet on your lap, and role playing as an editor. Try it! The change of venue can be inspiring.
 
Some years ago, friends taught me the efficacy of doing things in stages – from household chores to major projects – and fortunately it has carried over into my writing. I no longer have boring Sunday or any day afternoons, but I find the time to pause and write better. Then I can say when I read the published piece, "Yes! I really wrote that!"
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Helen Dunn Frame. A Syracuse University journalism school graduate, published in major newspapers, magazines and trade publications in the United States, England, and Germany. Her writing skills and love of travel led her to write her mystery novel Greek Ghosts. Email: helen@helendunnframe.com Web site: http://www.helendunnframe.com

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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


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