The Knickerbocker Rule


One of my favorite books about writing is Richard Rhodes’s How to Write, a resource I recommend any writer: Reassuring like an oasis’ pool, it also readily supplies you for the laden march when the wasteland crunches under your feet.

Of late I’ve been having trouble writing. Not so much writer’s block, but writer’s blah, a Bill-the-Cat-Ack blah (now that’s an obscure reference for some of you). Finding something to write about. A subject. A topic. A sentence. A word. A story.

I’ve written in my journal. But that only sort of feels like writing. I don’t have any freelance articles to write: I haven’t really pursued freelance in some time. (My last published piece was in December. You can read it here.) There’s an essay I want to shape up, or should take a look at again. I started an essay last Monday, but set it aside: a late-week emotional uncoiling and the words kerplunked.

As for fiction … don’t ask. Fiction seems remote at the moment.

And until this moment, blog posts have been sparse.

One of the things I do when I’ve hit the blahs like this is surf my favorite blogs, and hope I can steal an idea and make it my own (we’ll steal from our own grandmother, eh Mr. Faulkner?). At the very least, I’ll comment on a post. (Are comments writing?) Anyhow, today I was reading a new favorite, Sophisticated Dorkiness, and was reminded of Rhodes’s Knickerbocker Rule.

Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize winner, once wrote for the Hallmark PR department and he relates an anecdote (I almost wrote “little anecdote” but that would be redundant) about approaching his boss, Conrad Knickerbocker, who had begun to have some successes writing, publishing book reviews and fiction. Rhodes asked Knickerbocker how to become a writer. Knickerbocker said, “‘Rhodes, you apply ass to chair.'”

Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness mentions Sunday Salon, which she wants to participate in as an impetus to blog more.

And to blog more means to write more. Which is a good thing. Because I need to write more. I read the Sunday Salon introduction and it sounds like it may very well be worth participating in, if only to get myself writing something on Sunday (especially tough this time of year since football season has started), and thus apply the Knickerbocker Rule.

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2 thoughts on “The Knickerbocker Rule

  1. I like that anecdote — sometimes you do just have to sit down and write. With school getting to be so much, I needed something like Sunday Salon to keep me updating my blog at least semi-regularly, so hopefully it works.

  2. That particular anecdote has been on my mind a lot lately, given that I haven’t done a lot of writing, and haven’t made the time to sit and write, excusing myself with other obligations, and not making writing a priority. That’s especially true on weekends, when I have more time in the week to write: I tend to squander it rather than write, especially this time of year, given that it is football season. I hope I can force myself to break away using such things as Sunday Salon to recapture writing.

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