The thin line

Last night I wrote about 400 or so words.  Still not a lot, but much more worthy of keeping than what I’d written the day before.

I confess I’ve got very mixed feelings about pushing on without being at least content with what comes before.  I’ve found it’s about a fifty-fifty success rate for me when I do this.  Blindly writing on, I find, is not always as helpful as pausing and taking the time–be it days or weeks or months–for the full picture to fall in place.  On the other hand, sometimes taking the time is just an excuse for various blocks such as low confidence, laziness, fear, a life full of distractions.  It’s tricky to decide which is which.  Though I’ve finished NaNoWriMo before, part of my struggle with it was that although forcing myself to write all the way through was a very big step, in the end what I had produced was not salvageable because there was a fundamental flaw I hadn’t considered in the structure of the story itself.   It’s not that I don’t know what words to put down–it’s that I don’t know what exactly should happen next.

The way I write–I consider myself an excavator of sorts, a sculptor.  I’ve a rough idea of what I’m beginning with, where I want to go.  And then I dig and chip and find the story, uncovering little bits of it, surprising myself.  I’ve tried and tried to work with outlines, structures, even very loose note form ones.  I can’t seem to stick to them, or get them to work, or keep them from making me uninterested in the whole story.  Is this a discipline problem on my part?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s why I have trouble with longer works.

One thing I do think I should learn is to accept that writing, at least for me, should not be a goal-oriented thing. I enjoy the process, have always done so.  So I should let myself just keep enjoying it, and not get hung up on “can I sell this” or “well I’ve still only accomplished X.”  In the end, that’s not important.  What is important is the telling.  After the telling is done, then I can worry about the rest of the stuff.

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