Saturday, September 15, 2012

The A/C Ratio and being thin as a playing card

I think I first heard this phrase from a buddy in my old writers group, author Kemble Scott.

The A/C Ratio is terribly important for writers. It is a part of everything they do. It's integral to productive work days.

A = Ass. And C=Chair.

It's monumental. It's cataclysmic. One has to actually SIT DOWN to write.

Sure, you can dictate while you breeze through your workout. You can certainly come up with devastatingly clever dialogue while standing talking to someone who is boring you. But at the end of the day, at some point: yes, you must sit.

I love this bit from Stephen Koch's The Modern Library's Writer's Workshop.

And you must sit down and write. It doesn't even really matter if you feel like writing. As Tom Wolfe says, "Sometimes, if things are going badly, I will force myself to write a page in half an hour. I find that can be done. I find that what I write when I force myself is generally just as good as what I write when I'm feeling inspired."....Joyce Carole Oates agrees: "One must be pitiless about this matter of 'mood.' In a sense, the writing will create the mood....I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes...and somehow the activity of writing changes everything."

Let's see if we can all improve our A/C Ratios in the upcoming weeks. I know I'm working on it.



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4 comments:

Drew Mayer said...

Love this, Erika! And so absolutely true.

—Drew Mayer

Erika M said...

Thank you, Drew! Nice to hear from you.

Rebecca Labau said...

I'm searching for answers about writing and the A/C Ratio may prove to bet most valuable find!

Erika M said...

Amen, Rebecca! It's just about sitting down and doing it. :)