Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Joy and Pain of Writing

" Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."

~David McCullough

"The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style."

~Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels

For the past few weeks, I have been good and stuck. And I mean really stuck

Sometimes writing is the most wonderful and freeing feeling in the world. When the characters behave themselves and the images vividly stretch across my mind's eye and the words flow forward so smoothly and perfectly (rather like the ice dancing I'm watching on the Olympics from Sochi, Russia, as I write this) that the challenge is to capture each expression and nuance before the next blooms forth....

That's when I love writing. 

That's when I can almost believe that I am a writer.


That's what has NOT been happening lately. 

Because of my busy schedule, I've been publishing the average of one chapter a month rather than my regular schedule of one chapter a week. Of course, these chapters are much longer--twice as long as the chapters in my previous novels. But still, I've been so crazy busy with my teaching schedule that writing has had to take a back seat.

Not to mention my faithful readers who understand both my insane schedule and my physical limitations...but who are politely eager for the next chapter of my novel--the whole "so what happens next?" question needs to be answered for their sake.  

But without that regular mindset of writing, editing, and publishing a new chapter each week, it's easy to lose the emotional thread of the story, to lose the subtleties of the characters, to lose the flow of images that I usually race to type before the vividness fades. 

All these issues are difficult. Yet the problems with this latest chapter go far beyond what I've described above. I drafted this twelfth chapter of my current novel in November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A delightful dream vision came to me, so I followed it. But when I reread the chapter, it just didn't seem to work right, and my brilliant and insightful pre-reader agreed and offered me some wonderful suggestions.

So I rewrote. 

And it still wasn't right. 

My pre-reader agreed and offered me more wonderful suggestions. 

So I rewrote again. 

And it STILL wasn't right. 

My pre-reader agreed and offered me more wonderful suggestions.

So I'm rewriting this chapter again

Right now I hate writing. In fact, I feel much more like a bumbler than a writer. I'm not crafting words; I'm slaughtering them. 

And it's rather a bloody mess. 

So as I gird my scattered mind to rewrite this recalcitrant chapter once AGAIN, I take comfort in these two quotations from two great writers, praying that I can somehow fulfill these words on writing. 

And...back to my novel I go....

Writing away (and trying to not tear out my hair),

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin