Eric Mayer

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Short on Ideas
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I suppose I should check in here once in a while if only to show I'm still around. This sort of sporadic blogging is what happens when a writer without many ideas, or a very exciting life, gets it into his head that he ought to say something interesting or not say anything at all.

I can't recall when it occurred to me that my words were not automatically fascinating to others just because they were my words,. Certainly, when I was younger, I assumed that anything I wrote was ipso facto worth reading. Or, maybe, to be more correct, I didn't give much thought to readers at all. I enjoyed spinning out sentences and piling up paragraphs. The process interested me. Never mind the content.

Quite often I would aim to reach a particular number of words or pages. I thought that an article, essay or story that was longer was of greater worth than a shorter piece and a bigger achievement. So I would stuff the words in, plump the thing up. I would add an extraneous sentence. And then another. And another. Just for the sheer length of it.

I also got into the habit of embroidering my writing -- adding a pun here, a clever description there -- and although a bit of embroidery can be attractive I have decided over the years that it is usually better just to say what I have to say, simply, then stop. (And, of course, not to start if I don't have anything to say) It is hard to tell whether word play that amuses the writer will also amuse the reader because playing with words, in itself, is always fun for the writer.

When I would think about trying to compose a novel the problem, as I saw it, was how to possibly manage to write down enough words. But what writing is really about is coming up with ideas. If the ideas are there, the words are easy. And that's probably enough about that.

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