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Scott Lax Blog

How Writers Read

Finn in late summer
Like most readers, I go through times when I don't read as much as usual. The past seven and a half months -- the best of my life, with the arrival of my son, Finn -- have been such a time. Too tired; too busy. There's no need for any writer to apologize for not writing or reading more. It happens.

And then I got back into it. I'm starting slowly, with not much more time, but maybe a bit more intellectual energy. I just read "Dog Story, a Personal History," by Adam Gopnik, in The New Yorker; and am reading Ben Marcus's short story, "What Have You Done?" as well as a novel by one of my favorite writers of light fiction. It's not genre fiction, but it's not exactly Dickens or Kundera. (More on that later.)

If you've gotten away from reading -- and like most of you, I never completely get away from it -- all you have to do to get back in it is open a magazine or book or turn on your iPad or Kindle. (I still like paper, but we'll see.)

Speaking of seeing things, here's Finn about a week ago. He loves nature. And books. And climbing things. And bouncing. And drumming. And singing. And laughing. And...you get the idea. Read More 

The Great Moving Experience

FinnyFace
"Mostly, we authors repeat ourselves -- that's the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives -- experiences so great and moving that it doesn't seem at the time that anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald  Read More 

Finn in Summertime

Photo by Lydia
It's strange and amazing to have just turned 59 and understand life in a way I never imagined. Everything looks different: the environment - so neglected, so precarious; our politics, so filled with greed and short-sightedness; the world, still so full of promise. When I try to see life through Finn's eyes, I know that I can't, but I can sense it. Everything is new, much is wondrous, and his trust is pure. I write to make our lives better, and if I can make the world a little better, that's okay too. I think if leaders thought and cared about children first and foremost many problems would go a long way toward being solved. They should be our first priority.  Read More 

Improving My World

Finn helps me do both - his presence is my best contribution to the world. And he helps me enjoy it. (Here he is, at almost 6 months and 3 weeks.)
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.' - E. B. White

Focusing on Writing When You Can't Focus

Finn focusing.
I’ve heard a lot of excuses about why writers can’t write: no time, too many distractions, health, personal upset, financial issues, writer’s block.

To me, those are reasons, but don’t qualify as excuses. If you can’t write, you can’t write. But if you really want to write, you usually can.

So if you’re having problems getting started, or finding the time, or whatever, sit down and write anyway. You’ll likely have to cut through your reasons for not writing and simply focus – for a minute, for an hour, for a few hours.

Here’s my advice: give yourself a set amount of time, no matter how short a period, and focus on nothing but writing. Then write, stand up, and you’ll feel better. Don’t fret. Just write.  Read More