Start Small: Moving From Notebook to Story

Susan Jackson Rogers

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Susan Jackson Rogers has written a brief essay on the writing life: “Closing the Gap: Moving from Notebook to Story.” She discusses how stories get their beginnings and gain traction:

Each time, I have to remember: Start small. Why doesn’t “starting small” feel like real writing? Really, there isn’t any other way to start. … It’s embarrassing to admit how long it’s taken me to realize that the whole trick is this: close the gap between notes and draft. At the beginning of a writing session, if I don’t know where to start, I go to the notes, and transfer the useful ones to the proper place in the draft I’m working on. …  I used to think, “but this isn’t real writing” (by which I meant that euphoric seven-longhand-pages-in-one-sitting kind of writing). Now I wonder what that could possibly mean. I am writing. That’s as real as writing gets.

Read the entire essay over at Glimmer Train.

Also in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin:


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Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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3 Comments on "Start Small: Moving From Notebook to Story"

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[…] Susan Jackson Rogers on writing: “It’s embarrassing to admit how long it’s taken me to realize that the whole trick is this: close the gap between notes and draft.” (via Jane Friedman) […]

Patsy Collins
Patsy Collins
3 years 5 months ago

I don’t close the gap because I didn’t know there was one. As long as we’re writing does it matter if the words are notes, drafts, memos or edits?

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