Today a wonderful word landed in my email in-box, courtesy of the A.Word.A.Day newsletter from www.wordsmith.org. The word, so relevant to anyone who writes, is sitzfleisch, from the German Sitzfleisch — sitzen (to sit) + Fleisch (flesh).
As Wordsmith’s Anu Garg writes: “Sitzfleisch is a fancy term for what’s commonly known as chair glue: the ability to sit still and get through the task at hand. It’s often the difference between, for example, an aspiring writer and a writer. Sometimes the word is used in the sense of the ability to sit out a problem — ignore it long enough in the hope it will go away.” (If you love words, do yourself the favor of subscribing to Anu’s newsletter — I learn something new every day from it.)
Whether you’re wrestling with a book, a proposal, or a blog post, don’t think of your writing project as a problem that might go away if you ignore it. Take a deep breath, sit yourself back down in that chair, and write! (Of course, if you’re really stuck with a project, get some help – but always practice a little sitzfleisch first.)
If you’re looking for a good excuse to take a break from your writing chair, consider attending a conference that focuses on the type of writing you do. In the form of the annual “Muse and the Marketplace 2011” conference, the good people at Grub Street in Boston provide an excellent excuse for abandoning your writing chair for a weekend in early spring. Blue Pencil Consulting is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s “Muse,” which takes place April 30 – May 1 at the Park Plaza Hotel. This is a terrific event for writers of fiction and non-fiction alike, offering sessions on the craft of writing and the business of publishing, plus many opportunities to network with writers, agents, and editors. For those of you considering self-publishing, there’s a conference track devoted to that topic. See conference and registration details at www.grubstreet.org/.