Traditions! Not just for Tevye anymore.

Being that I’m Jewish, I’ve seen The Fiddler on the Roof a few (hundred) times.  If you haven’t, I encourage you to get it from Netflix or your favorite video store.

Here’s a little sample to give you a taste, or if you’re familiar, make you get all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia.  It’s over seven minutes, but worth it.  Go ahead and watch, I’ll wait here:

There, wasn’t that awesome?

So I was struggling with this post, not sure just what to write about.  Sure, everyone has family traditions: eating deliciously greasy latkes at Hannukah, stopping for a bite at Tally Ho on the way to Bubby’s Passover dinner, having a special meal on your birthday (even if you fall down and injure yourself terribly and need to go to the ship’s infirmary to get patched up, because damn it, you WILL have that lobster dinner on formal night– you only turn 40 once!).  Or maybe you have a tradition of annually joining a gym when you realize all of your traditions revolve around food…

But since all of us Debs (and many of our Deb fans/followers) are writers, maybe I should talk about writing traditions.  So.  Do I have any writing traditions?

Hmmm.  That’s a tough one and maybe why this post was just so difficult to write.

But yes, now that I think of it, I do have some writing traditions.

I have a long tradition of using extraneous words like just and that.  I know that this is one of my weakness; it’s just that I really like certain words. Just and that are great words.  And they kind of disappear into your writing so you don’t even know that you use them**.  In speaking with other writers, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this tradition.  The good news is that using find/replace to identify and eliminate these words has just become a new tradition for me.

It’s also very traditional for me to write completely by the seat of my pants. I often sit down and have no idea where I’m going until I get there. You should not be surprised to know that this post is no different.

Another writing tradition I have is that I only write on my computer.  I can’t write longhand.  I’ve never had good penmanship (despite my mother’s beautiful handwriting, I was never able to master the art of flowing cursive).  I grip the pen too tightly and end up with cramps and ugly chicken scratch on the page.  There is nothing good about any of it.  So I don’t bother with notebooks or legal pads. But I love to type.  I mean I really love to type.  I could type all day. Even if I wasn’t saying anything and was just tap, tap, tapping on the keys mindlessly going through the motions of typing words as I…sorry…I’ll stop now.

I guess that’s it for me.  Nothing overly weird or exciting.  But I’d like to hear about you—do you have any writing traditions or habits?


**word count: Just – 7, That – 15

15 Replies to “Traditions! Not just for Tevye anymore.”

  1. Oh wow. I never thought about find and replace to seek out those pesky little words. GREAT idea!

    My writing traditions are to either a) write on the train or plane or b) write while sitting on something that allows me to put my feet up.

  2. I love Fiddler on the Roof! I was so bummed out that our DD wouldn’t allow “Sunrise, Sunset” to be played at her wedding reception. Said she didn’t want to look at a whole roomful of people crying. *grin* Just as well, really. My eye makeup would never have withstood it.

  3. Is it sacrilegious to say I was more a fan of Yentl growing up than Fiddler? I’m all about the Babs. (Though didn’t Bette play in one of the earlier casts of Fiddler, or did I dream that?)

    I think we all share so many of these writing traditions, Joanne. I know I get used to a certain chair when I write and a certain side of the table. And I too can’t write by hand–unless I’m stopped at a light and an idea flashes at me then I’m scribbling all over a receipt or something, but otherwise, it’s a computer all the way…

  4. I’m having childhood flashbacks too. Every summer the local theatre group produced a musical in the outdoor amphitheatre up on Mt. Tam. One year it was “Fiddler on the Roof.” The song “If I Were a Rich Man” was stuck in my head all the way back down the mountain. (I’m sure it will be for the rest of today too!)

    One of my writing traditions includes developing character analyses and the basic plot prior to starting the first draft, but then still fumbling around trying to find the story for the first 50 pages, and feeling panicky and like this is the crappiest story EVER.

  5. Never fear your Mother is here just a little late today.

    Oy, so here is what I have to say “TRADITION” it is the greatest (and so was Fiddler on the Roof)having dinners, enjoying family and friends but best of all is feeding everyone.

    To all the writers, non writers everyone has certain traditions and some are better than others and a lot are really hard to break (ask Joanne, her Mother is a stickler for some). Never fear you will all make it and even if those crappy traditions are not broken I have faith in all of my Debs (and non Debs who are the best writers ever that’s you Lisa besides my Joanne).

    Thanks for the great video Joanne I have been signing all day and the girls at maj were ready to kill me. TRADITION, IF I WERE A RICH MAN DA DA DA DA.

    Have a good week Debs, ready to read blogs all week.

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