Sunday, November 19, 2006

One Thousand Good Words at Panera

To mark the occasion of the latest National Book Awards (more about which here) as well as National Novel Writing Month, NPR did a nice package around how some of the book award finalists practice their craft. Nancy Werlin, a writer of young adult novels, described her typical day:

How She Writes: "Lately, it's been the following:
1) Get to a Panera Bread cafe sometime in the morning.
2) Order large decaf skim latte.
3) Skulk or pounce to get possession of table near electrical outlet.
4) Plug in, boot up and immediately download email using Panera's free wireless access.
5) Waste time on email and web.
6) Finally open file containing novel-in-progress and get to work.
7) Write until lunchtime.
8) Pack up computer, use bathroom, get in line for lunch.
9) Obtain lunch, attempt and fail to reclaim table near electrical outlet, settle for other table and run off battery.
10) Eat lunch while answering email.
11) Return to work writing, eyeing the Daily Goal: 1,000 good words.

Writer's Block Remedies: "I tell myself that all I need to do is open the file and work for 15 minutes. Or ten. Or five."
A Favorite Sentence: "In the end, the survivor gets to tell the story."

By the way, if you're looking for a recommendation from that winner's list, I think you can't go wrong by trying Timothy Egan's book on the dustbowl. While I haven't read it (yet), I'm familiar with some of his other work, which is uniformly excellent. And the subject seems like something he can sink his teeth into. If you do read it (or any of the others for that matter) and have a reaction you'd care to share with the rest of us, by all means please do.


At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Lou said...

I should have known that if I could run an organization on certain days (grant writing, don't want my board to think that I don't go to work) from Panera that someone should be able to write a novel while at Panera. Though I prefer Lucky's, Talkies and Cravings...I write a lot of grants.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, Lou. I'm rather partial to Talkies myself. But I don't think I've ever even been to Cravings (I just have them). I'll have to make a note to check it out. Good luck with those grants.


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