Chronicling the journey of writing

by Veronica Louis

Journal d’un ecrivain en pyjama

Book cover: Mance Lanctôt

For my B-Day, this past January, a very close friend of mind gave me Dany Laferrière’s book: The World is Moving Around Me. Beautifully translated by David Homel from the French original Tout bouge autour de moi, the book was about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake recounted by the Haitian author and poet, Dany Laferrière.

I delved quickly into the book, soaking it up as if I was a literature-deprived sponge. The World is Moving Around Me is divided into a number of written snapshots of the earthquake aftermath focused through the eyes of a poet who paints a drab photo with just the right tone and hue of words. Take this passage of the book for example…


A 7.3 magnitude earthquake is not so bad. You still have a chance. Concrete was the killer. The population had joined in an orgy of concrete over the last fifty years. Little fortresses. The wood and sheet-metal houses, more flexible, stood the test. In narrow hotel rooms, the TV set was the enemy. People sit facing it. It came right down on them. Many got hit in the head. (more…)

by Veronica Louis

Image: Veronica Louis

This week I turned 30. Three whole decades old! Holy smokes! 10 years, plus another 10 years, and adding another 10 years for good measure… Perfect recipe for age gain (because there is no such thing as age loss).

What is the difference between being 30 and 20? Besides the obvious mathematical answer, for me there now is a real sense that time is beginning to run out. It’s as if I am an hourglass, and at first there was a lot of sand in the top bulb and I was all like “Tra-la-la-la-la, I have all the time in the world.” But then what happened was that I suddenly noticed that the top bulb was no longer full of sand, and that my narrow opening seemed wider allowing the sand to flee at an increasingly alarming rate. (more…)

Photo: Veronica Louis

Photo: Veronica Louis

by Veronica Louis

9,999 hours to go!

I was first introduced to the notion of 10,000 hours in Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ album: The Heist. In their song Ten Thousand Hours (clip below), Macklemore raps: “I observed Escher, I loved Basquiat, I watched Keith Haring, you see I studied art. The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they painted a lot.”

And voila! You have it. 10,000 hours is the theory that it takes that many hours to become successful or an expert in a field. The 10,000-hour rule was made popular in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers. In the book, through many examples he demonstrates how with time and practice experts are made not born. One of Gladwell’s more famous examples is The Beatles, and the considerable amount of time the band played together. In 1960 they were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany and there they had to play eight hours a day, seven days a week. By the end of their Germany stint, like Lennon described, they couldn’t help but get better and become more confident with the experience of playing all night long. The Beatles lyrics’ “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog,” are a very fitting way to describe how much they worked to become The Beatles as we know them today. (more…)

Writers by Definition Write

December 26th, 2012 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Writing - (0 Comments)

by Veronica Louis


Photo: Veronica Louis

In an interview in Writer’s Digest, author R.L. Stine said: “People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.”

I think Stine says it all. Writers by definition write. And it’s better not to focus on the how of becoming a writer, and instead, like Stine suggests, focusing on the doing. Writers write, lawyers practice law and actors act. Mind you, there is no rule that states that you must be exceptional at law to practice law or be outstanding at acting to act, and the same logic applies to writing. Yet, like any other profession, the more you practice, the more prolific you become. (more…)