Posted by: penpatience | November 3, 2012


 News:  “Greenest Grass,” fiction short story is scheduled for publication in the January/February 2013 issue of Long Story short;  “Love Apples” – one of twenty five winners in the Women’s Memoir and Recipe Contest; “Side By Side,” pending publication in Page & Spine Magazine-2013; “Tattered Rose” published in The Storyteller Magazine (July-Aug-Sept) 2012 issue.

November 2012 Monthly Musing


The other day I was thinking about my Dad who died at age 70, too young by my statistics. While I was writing, one of his favorite sayings came to mind. He often said, “Francesca (Frances in Italian), if your ship is to come in you must put your oar in the water.” When I was a young girl I didn’t pay much attention to his words. However, as I pursued various goals in my adult life, his words resonated with new meaning. I was successful in many former endeavors; however, his words echo in my head whenever I sit down to write.

If I’m going to succeed as a writer and continue to have my work published, first I have to write it.  Procrastination takes many forms: medical appointments, cooking, chores, social events, shopping, and fatigue are all evasive tactics for not picking up the pen.  However, once I begin to write and congratulate myself on completion of the project’s first draft —that’s just the first dip of the oar.

Famous author, Stephen King, in his book, “On Writing,” refers to his Rewrite Formula, when turning the first draft into the second.

“What the formula taught me is that every story and novel is collapsible to some degree. If you can’t get out ten percent of it while retaining the basic story and flavor, you’re not trying very hard.  The effect of judicious cutting is immediate and often amazing…..”

After the adjusted second draft, there’s grammar control, additional editing, online and offline spell checks, punctuation accuracy, and putting the manuscript aside awhile before a final review. Each step requires an individual dip of the oar to paddle your boat to its final destination— publication. While writing this musing, a song I learned as a child ran through my mind:

“Row- Row-Row your boat

Gently down the stream;

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,

Life is but a dream.”

If my dream of publishing more stories and writing that first novel are going to come to fruition, I have to Row-Row-Row my boat. It’s a good thing that boats have two oars. I’m going to need that second one. – Gaye Buzzo Dunn


  1. I’ve read the King book you refer to–it is very good


    • John, It was a great read. Helped me as a writer.
      Best wishes,


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