Learning How to Write Through Writing

While working on THE NOVEL the other day, I found myself struggling and hating every word that fell onto the page. An inner part of me wanted to keep slogging through — after all, I've long been a fan of shitty first drafts proposed by Anne Lamott, the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and all other "kill the inner editor" methods of writing that favor getting the words on the page over perfectionism. The point is to get the thing written and then deal with the mess later. 

Except it wasn't working. So, I stopped and considered, What can I do to make this work for me?

After some contemplation, I determined that the scene I was working on was not in the voice of the character, which made it feel stale and boring. The solution: Go back and start the chapter over, so that I could come at the scene more anchored in the character's point of view. Despite scrapping all of my work from that morning, the process immediately felt better. Rather than preventing forward progress, in this case, my inner editor rescued me.  

"The main thing you're doing with your first novel is learning how to write a novel," explains Justine Larbalestier — which is just about the perfect explanation for what I'm currently experiencing. The methods I've used in the past to write the first draft of this novel (or the unfinished drafts of previous novels) may not apply here. So, I'll have to teach myself new methods, new approaches to crafting the project at hand. 

And the learning won't end at the completion or even publication (I hope) of this novel. As Larbalestier notes, "every novel is different and you have to learn new skills for each one." With each new poem, story, novel, script that I approach, I can anticipate new challenges and new struggles. It's a little bit intimidating, but also kind of hopeful — no matter what happens on my journey, new adventures are ahead.

Announcements

Cotton Xenomorph has published "A Little Background Information" — my first poetry publication of the year! 

Good Stuff Out There

Veronica Arreola discusses Luke Perry and the mortality of Gen X.

Maritn Panchaud interpreted the entirety of Star Wars: A New Hope as an infographic, and it's kind of awesome.

These 11 ridiculously overdue library books make me feel so much better about my own borrowing habits.

Since February was Women in Horror Month, I shared Five Books of Poetry to Check Out along with a number of other posts highlighting books and movies created by women. 

Welcome to the Bold and Blocky Era of Book Covers.

I love this photo series highlighting the beauty in decay

Poetry: Three Poems by Carina Bissett, I Spend the Day Not Speaking by Niina Pollari, Three Poems by Joanna C. Valente

Short Stories: A Catalogue of Storms by Fran Wilde, Slipping Petals from Their Skins by Kristi Demeester, A Compendium of Architecture and the Science of Building by Kate Elliot

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