So, let me dig into today’s thoughts on writing.
I’ve been working on a novel for a while now. That’s pretty typical. Most writers (there ARE exceptions) don’t sit down and spit out a novel in some long mental purging that is well-plotted and coherent in one pass. I’m not putting any time line on this writing, except that one of the goals I hope to have accomplished by the end of my MFA (January, 2012) is to have this book finished and polished and ready to be read by agents and publishers. So, I have time.
And, I have a majority of the book written, in basic draft form, so a lot of what I’m doing is “making the pieces fit together”. I have scenes and snippets like a million-piece puzzle laying out on the family room table, and I’ve started on the corners, working my way into the heart of the work. Overall, I think it is going well, even though there’s a big hole still there, in the middle.
A little over two weeks ago, though, I tried to jump back into the story after a relatively long hiatus. I hadn’t written any new parts since April. (I DID do a major revision of the first five chapters in June, but that is a very different mindset than pulling out new words to make things fit together…)
I found it very hard to go back into the story. There were several days where what I wrote wasn’t even draft-worthy, and then I spent a day writing 2,000 words that, in hindsight, aren’t’ going to fit into the novel. It took several more days for me to finally get some parts and pieces that I am happy with. I feel like I’m back “on my way”, but getting here has been hard work.
When I was working as a substitute teacher, the kids would ask–after only a few days of not seeing me–if I “got that novel done, yet?”
“Not quite yet,” I would reply.
If only it were that easy…