Writing Secrets: write when there’s no time to write—by Erwin A. Thompson

Erwin A. Thompson, author of Thompson Western Series and Folk Treasure
Erwin A. Thompson, author of Thompson Western Series and Folk Treasure

I will share my secret of being able to write when there is no time for writing.

When I am in a boring job that only requires my presence, when I wake up at night and tend to remember all of the dirty deals that people have handed me—these kind of times.

I think. Sometimes I write scenes in my mind. If I get a a chance I jot down enough to jog my memory. Sometimes years later I run across these notes and it brings back the whole thing. I wrote a book one time based on four lines I had written down years before.

Many of you are too young to recall Eugene Manlove Rhodes, one of the foremost western writers of his day before writers of western stories got to be lilke blades of grass in the spring. But, before the days of tape recorders egend says that Rhodes would sometimes quote whole chapters of a book that he was writing, that he had NEVER WRITTEN DOWN! Somehow he got it all done.

Keep writing. It is a refuge. Like I said in my talk last week at the Writers Club: I can’t say that writing saved my life, but it saved my sanity.


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  1. Oh, if only I had the ability to memorize my work at all, much less before writing it down as Eugene Manlove Rhodes could! (By the way, I once had the good fortune to visit his summer place in the San Andres Mountains of southern New Mexico. It’s a wonderful stone cabin in a stand of trees where a spring creates a green oasis at the mouth of a desert canyon. It’s off-limits to the public now, inside a sprawling desert army base. But you can still feel what drew him there to the silence and the view and the patch of green in the immense desert.) Unfortunately, my memory isn’t up to memorizing what I will write before I’ve written it. And the thing about working as a freelance writer is that my job isn’t boring: au contraire! It’s fascinating and draws on all my creativity. I’m planning on finding some time for my own words though before the year is out. Thanks, Janet and Erwin, for the inspiration!


  2. “Sometimes I write scenes in my mind”

    Hopefully, smart minds think alike – I do a lot of this also; then go back later on and write the thought down. This often happens when I can’t sleep at night; I’ll ‘write’, edit and basically go over the scene many times. Next thing you know, it’s on paper or computer as a story/joke/idea, etc.

  3. In my husband’s final days last month, I stored up images, impressions and conversations. It was two weeks before I could enter them in my journal, nearly verbatim. The mind is truly a wondrous thing as we know. For writers, I think our perceptions, emotions and conceptions must take on lives of their own that sometimes fester, expand and develop in our subconscious until the time is right. Then, like a long awaited flower, they take root and bud out. Okay, sometimes it looks more like a weed, but it is our creatively devised weed and, therefore, pretty special.

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