Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I’m a Sunday writer.
For years I read Writer’s Digest.  That meant I read Lawrence Block’s columns.  Last week when I happened across Block’s Tellling Lies For Fun and Profit in the pattinase “forgotten books” Friday blog, I decided to read some of Block’s columns again. 

I’m just a little way though this reprinting of a selection of Block’s columns, but already, I remember why I liked them.  Block’s columns are simple and practical.

Block defines the “Sunday writer” as the person who writes for the fun of it, never expecting to be published.  Block writes mostly for non-Sunday writers, but he acknowledges that Sunday writers can read his writing too.

I have been published thanks to a contest and to a wonderful editor who spent a portion of her editorial life encouraging new writers.  But I never expected Ruth Cavin to find my manuscript publishable.  I submitted manuscripts to contests hoping to get a few comments back.  And I am thankful for the comments I sometimes received.  But I write for the fun of it.

Like every writer, I may have dreamed of having lightning strike, but I never expected it.

So now, I have a name—Sunday writer.  And even though I’ve only read a few columns so far, I understand what kind of writer I am.  Block talks about “seat-of-the-pants” writers.  These are writers who write without outlines save, perhaps, for some idea of the end of the book.

When I make outlines, my writing goes stiff and dead.  Ruth Cavin told me as much in her very frank but loving way.  And she was right.

A long time ago, I quit reading books about writing.  They distract me from my Sunday writing.  But I’m enjoying reading Lawrence Block again. 


George said...

I've read all of Block's books on writing. They are all sensible and useful whether you're a professional writer or a "Sunday" writer. William Goldman's books about writing for Hollywood are just as enjoyable.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Bought this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Got this today and it looks terrific.