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How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

I have been writing all my life.  First as a student, and then later as a rabbi and teacher. But now that I am a writer, I am beginning to appreciate the discipline that true writing requires.  

This is my writer’s notebook:

I never go anywhere without it.  If you see me around town, there’s a good chance that I will be leaning over it and scribbling away.  While I am not particular about notebooks — any “cow book” or lined journal will suffice– I have found a favorite pen, which is usually hooked over the page as a bookmark.  Sometimes I sketch or highlight certain ideas, while I am mulling over whether I want to turn my jotted notes and musings into a full essay.  I NEVER take my notebook out at a red light, but I have pulled over to capture a fleeting thought. I like to browse through my notebook when I arrive early to pick up the kids and turn off my engine to wait in the carpool line.

Monday mornings, I invest a chunk of time in the revision and publishing part of the writing process.  I employ every ounce of my self-discipline to post an essay on my blog every Monday by late afternoon, even when my kids are home with me for a snow day or national holiday.  I truly believe that the way to become a good writer is the same way you get to Carnegie Hall.  So I have been practicing a lot, and I am grateful when I hear from readers– not only from my mom– that they are enjoying the essays.  Of course, it’s great to hear from Mom, too.

This morning I was rifling through an old notebook and finally wrote a 1,125 word essay that I have been meaning to write for more than a year.  Instead of posting it, though, I decided to give you a glimpse into the writer’s mind and a brief insight about how a person might progress from an incidental writer to a practicing writer. 

I have sent the lengthier piece to a colleague who I hope will publish it in a journal.  Perhaps, some Monday morning in the future, I will post a link to share those words, as well.

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