3/13/15

Chaos, curves and flow



Dear Writer's Diary,
A progress update...

So, I’ve set my audacious goal, to self publish my novel by June 1. And I’ve been working, I definitely have.

But I'm laughing at myself already. I thought I could do any necessary re-writes and edits on my ENTIRE novel by March 14. (What was I thinking?)

Well, it is now March 12. And I have only worked through Chapter Two. Chapter Two, my friends, Chapter Two. Ahem.

But I’m so pleased with what I’ve done with it - things I can see clearly now after several years of distance - that it’s impossible for me to be upset with how behind I am.

It takes the time it takes. It is what it is. What matters is that progress is happening.

Recently I started reading this book that I so wanted to like. It shall remain unnamed. But by the first chapter I knew I wasn’t liking it. It was a nice premise with a Jane Austen related twist to it, that made me want to like it. But the writing style was just so workmanlike. So dry. Dry bones. No juice. No zest. No quirk. No emotional tug, tug, tugging.

I flipped through the pages, reading a page here and there, hoping to find the words that would pull me in. No dice. I put the book down. I couldn’t bring myself to read any more. Not a word.

But what got me was the fear that I write just the same. All straight lines and no curves.  All “and then he did this and then she said that and then he said this” and no heart-breaking, soul-aching poetry.

It’s hard, because I hear all this advice as a writer to cut, cut, cut, edit, edit, edit, make your work as minimalist as possible, as sleek as a seal, and so I cut and I trim and soon my writing glides through the water frictionlessly, because it has not an ounce of fat on it’s body, but the fat is what makes it juicy, what makes the difference between a humorless, artless, bore and the un-put-downable, unforgettable, underlinable book.

So I’m back, working again, working at the balance between athletic minimalism and chaotic beauty, wanting to find my voice, somewhere in the middle, beckoning my voice to surface, to be brave, be indomitable in the face of literary rules and cliches.

I’ve enjoyed spending time writing again. I wanted my mojo back and I feel like I have it. It is so much easier to find time to write now, here, there and everywhere. Everyday I set a goal to write for 45 minutes, even if it’s only 3 sets of 15 minutes, but I’m finding myself doing much more (when I can).

I’ve forgotten how good it feels when my fingers are on fire, when I’m in the flow, lost in time. I’ve also forgotten how bad it feels to neglect other areas of my life. But everything is a trade off.

On to Chapter Three.


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