Tag Archives: beginnings

06Jan/15

Beginning Again

I’m back to the fuss of a first draft again. It’s funny, because I have a little déjà vu about all the weird feelings I get when I start something new. I know I’ve felt exactly this anxious before, but that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling it again.

I do have one great thing going for me this time: I know what my different drafts feel like. I’ve been through it enough times to know that I probably won’t have an actual structure until the third rewrite. Ugh. That sounds like so much work! Why can’t it be perfect the first time I write it?

At the same time, it’s fun right now. The first draft is so fun. There’s no voice to stick to, no locked-down POV, no chronological structure to limit my scenes. I can write about a thing that happened five years ago or something that will happen in two weeks. So what? I can describe a place that may or may not even show up in this book, just because the act of writing about it helps me see the world a little better. I can spend half the first draft with a character that doesn’t have a name, or a character that doesn’t even belong in this book.

I know it’s going to be like this in a few months when it’s time for the rewrite:

by Yusuf Toropov

 

… but for now, I’m having fun with it. It’s fun to be in a fantasy world again. I’ve been writing non-fiction for almost two years, so my only real fantasies were that I brushed my hair every day. Ha. Now, I get to talk to imaginary friends and travel a new world and find out all the secrets that only the characters know.

Have I mentioned it’s fun?

Ask me again in two weeks and I’ll tell you it’s a slog and that I want to tear my own eyes out. I know how this goes. I’ve done this before.

I found this quote in one of my writing/sketchbooks today. I thought it was apropos:

Todd Henry quote

 

 

What are you working on these days? Anything new and exciting?

 

20Mar/10

Planting Seeds

Today is the first day of spring. Normally, I wouldn’t notice, but now I have children who get excited about these things. Where I live, there are still two months until last frost, but the kids were insistent that we plant *something* today.

So we made our little recycled newspaper pots, filled them with dirt, and then pushed tiny seeds into each one. For the next few weeks, we will water them and watch them for growth. We will probably cheer when we see the first sprouts poking up, and wonder why others aren’t making any movement at all. In about six weeks, we’ll transplant our strongest plants to the garden outside. A few months after that, if we’re lucky, we’ll get a fruitful harvest of eggplant and pumpkins and corn. Until then, the whole process is just a lot of waiting and hope. And weeding.

Of course, the whole process reminded me of writing. Learning and growing in the craft takes a long time. I might have an idea, and dream that it will come to fruition, but like some of our sprouts, it may grow quickly and then die. If my idea does grow, through proper care, then I will have to let it out into the big wide world before its growth is stunted. There, it may suffer various plights – pests, heat, drought, frost – in the form of critics and naysayers. But I will have to let it go if I want it to grow.

It’s possible that I simply enjoy the process of planting seeds, whether they live or die. However, I cannot dream of having a large harvest without putting both work and faith into the project.

And just because I killed every single transplant to our garden last year does not mean they will all necessarily die this year. I’m getting better at gardening. Can I also improve my writing?

18Mar/10

Finding My Voice

I sometimes fear that I have nothing unique to offer. How many people have been down this road before me, and how many of them are a thousand times more qualified than I am to write about this life? One of my greatest fears is being lost in the crowd. But another of my greatest fears is sticking out from the crowd. I can’t seem to decide from day-to-day which I would prefer.

Still, there is something nagging at me all the time.

“Write,” it says.

“About what?” I say.

“About anything,” it says, “just continue to write.”

So here I am. Writing for the sake of writing. Being creative for the sake of creativity. Hoping to burst in on some other dimension of living that will finally answer all my questions and make my life blindingly vivid. I know, somehow, that creativity is the key to piecing it all together. Of course, there is no left-brained answer to explain how or why. If I really want to find out, only my imagination can take me there. So I’m going.

When I get there, I may find that I am a clone, along with a million others, living the exact same life. It is more likely that I will discover, as I already know, that no one on earth has lived the precise combination of lives I have. Somewhere in here is a unique voice, a way of telling a story that no one else has heard before. I must find it, and let it out, even if it requires spewing out all the garbage piled on top of it first.