Friday, August 12, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing: Laurie Halse Anderson on Finding Lost Time and Reclaiming Creativity

Laurie Halse Anderson--The Author I Most Admire
Last Friday I had the privilege of sitting in on a workshop given by my favorite author. I'd like to share a smattering of the highlights from that discussion by way of a series of brief quotes. I hope you'll get the essence of Laurie's wise words and be encouraged to find your lost time and reclaim your own creativity. If you are interested in consuming more of her wisdom, this month she is offering a special series on her blog: Write Fifteen Minutes A Day (WFMAD) I strongly recommend anyone who is serious about their craft to hop over there for a dose of daily encouragement.

"Twenty-four hours a day is more than enough."

"The universe wants you to be creative."

"You have more control over how you use your precious time and energy than you want to admit."

"Ask yourself: What takes most of my time? Be honest with yourself. Make a list of five things that take up the majority of your day. Then make another list of the five most important things in your life. Compare and contrast. Analyze."

"Take concrete steps: How many hours a day do you want to write? Compare that to how much time you spend watching TV, farting around on the Internet, volunteering."

"Read poetry." 

What do you do to find time to write and fill your creative well? And do you have a favorite Laurie Halse Anderson novel? Please share! 


  1. Thanks for the overview- I didn't get to her workshop at the conference!

  2. Laurie Halse Anderson is so freaking brilliant! And so inspiring. It is true that I squander time I should be writing.

    But I will say, sometimes I need a brain drain to restart my creative flow. I don't have stalls to muck out anymore, which was my perfect prewriting exercise. I guess I need to find a replacement...but running just isn't in my toolkit these days. Maybe long walks. (without the Ghost Hound)

  3. So true. It's so easy to make excuses when you really just need to sit down and write. *hangs head* Taking that advice to write :)

  4. BTW...I consider Laurie to be my life saver! Her presentation at the Fall Philly conference a few years ago was just what I needed.

  5. Nice to meet you at the conference (at the Pink Taco). I agree that Laurie's speech was inspiring. I think I cried for the 4th time that weekend during her talk.

    Love this "Make a list of five things that take up the majority of your day. Then make another list of the five most important things in your life. Compare and contrast. Analyze."

    Gulp, right?

  6. Thanks for posting this. I just visited her blog at your suggestion and loved her 'Marking Time' post. I've never consciously thought about how time passes in my manuscripts, but now I'll definitely be paying attention (and revising).

  7. LHA is all kinds of awesome. I've learned so much from her August WFMAD posts. Thanks all of your for stopping by today. I have so much more to share from SCBWI LA! My craft and creative cups overfloweth. . .

  8. I read Speak not too long ago and really enjoyed it.
    As for writing time, I find it wherever I can. Five minutes here, thirty there.

  9. I just love Laurie Halse Anderson. Not only is she an amazing author, but she also seems like such a sweet, encouraging person. And she is SO right about having more time to write than we think we do. It's embarrassing to think how much time I waste on silly things.

  10. I haven't read anything by Ms. Anderson, but I think I'll have to after reading this little excerpt! Going on the Goodreads list.

    I love these suggestions for finding creative time. Especially "make a list" and "read poetry."

    I find that keeping a journal, not necessarily making entries every day, but a writer journal where you glue stuff--things that inspire you--can be very helpful.

  11. I wish I could have shared more from her talk, but sometimes when I'm really into what someone's saying, I forget to take notes. She did talk about the importance of journaling and she also spoke about fear and how it keeps us from writing. Self-sabotage, too.

    Lora, a writer's journal with inspirational good stuff is a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing. Now go get your hands on Speak or Wintergirls!

  12. Ooohh, fear's a good one. How many times have I avoided writing for fear ....

    Re: Speak/Wintergirls - Awesome! I was gonna ask for suggestions. Will do.

  13. She made excellent points. Which reminds me...I should get off the internet! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I like the observation about television. I'm always amused by people who claim they'd write too, if only they could find the time. At some point, most of them admit to watching tv -- as though time spent watching tv is a given, like eating meals or doing housework.

    What I DON'T spend enough time doing is reading the books of contemporary YA/MG writers. That's what I need to make time to do.

  15. Really, really helpful points. I like the one about comparing the five most important things in your life with the five things that take up the majority of your day. Good, good stuff to think about!

  16. I read this book several years ago, and it was so inspirational. It's a great story, and the voice of Melinda rings so true to teens today, but that's not all of it. The underlying message is powerful: men and women, boys and girls who have been sexually abused need to speak up, even if it's only to one other person. Keeping it inside will just eat you alive. This book should be on every teenager's shelf.


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