November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 11 - Do Not Try to Beautify, or Even Understand

Below is a tiny bit of writing advice excerpted from Jorge Luis Borges's series of lectures at Harvard in 1967-68. Though he was mainly speaking about the writing poetry and short stories (and as we all know he never wrote novels), I found certain passages to be very appropriate for NaNoWriMo writers:
When I write, I do not think of the reader (because the reader is an imaginary character), and I do not think of myself (perhaps I am an imaginary character also), but I think of what I am trying to convey and I do my best not to spoil it... When I am writing something, I try not to understand it. I do not think intelligence has much to do with the work of a writer...
When I write (of course, I may not be a fair example, but merely an awful warning), I try to forget all about myself. I forget about my personal circumstances. I do not try, as I tried once, to be a “South American writer.” I merely try to convey what the dream is. And if the dream be a dim one (in my case, it usually is), I do not try to beautify it, or even to understand it.
- Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse

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