The writing process gets a lot more exciting after you do it for a decade

5456828413_wohoo_xlargeI’m on my 59th draft of that first chapter, and I’m not gonna say that I just nailed it, but I think that I totally nailed it.

Anyway, whether I nailed it or not (I did), this has been an insane process. I have never before in my life written anything this way. It’s been extremely frustrating. It sucks to grasp for something day after day and not even come close to getting ahold of it. And it sucks even more to think that you’ve found a solution, and then to discover that the same essential problem is lurking underneath. And then, even when I do make some progress, I often find that my new solution means that I need to call into question some of the choices that I made earlier.

There was a period of several hours today (somewhere around the 55th draft) where I considered giving up on this novel and just declaring defeat. I’m glad that I pushed through that, but…well…who can predict the future? Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and be stuck at the same dead end.

The point, though, is that I never would have written like this even three years ago, much less a decade ago, when I was first starting out.

As a beginning writer, I just had the idea and sat down at the computer and wrote it.

Nowadays it’s different. Nowadays, I actually…I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. But I think that nowadays I actually listen to the words.

And, often, it’s not a very comfortable experience. Often, I sit down and write and I absolutely hate them. But when I was a beginning writer, I didn’t really experience my time at the keyboard as, well, as anything. It was almost an automatic process, like doodling on a legal pad while you’re taking a call. The results were alright. And they definitely improved over time. But the experience itself contained little emotion (except frustration, when nothing was coming) and no drama.

Nowadays, it’s different. Writing is more like having a conversation with someone whom I’ve just met. There are certain skills involved. And there are certain commonalities in each encounter, because I have certain things that I do over and over. And the process is both within my control and not within my control. Although I can alter what I do, I can’t predict what the response will be.

And the whole thing is very exciting. Until as recently as two or three years ago, I never would’ve believed that the actual process of writing could be exciting.

 

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