Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Brave New Word

I think I've pegged down what feels so strange about this book, and why I'm not having trouble with it. It's kind of complicated, so let me unpack it for you.

When I'm writing, I frequently stop and think "What's the best way to say this?" It slows me down. In fact, one of the reasons that I long-hand everything is because it's such a hassle to back edit text. I can't write something down, cross it out, write something else, cross it out...on and on and on. I mean, I could, but all that wasted ink would really bother me. Once I've written something, if it's not perfect, I can just sigh and think "Okay, well. That's for revision" and press on. You see? I finish things that way. Once you've given up the idea that this draft will be *the* draft, it's deceptively easy to be productive. The fucking around stage of this book lasted a year and a half, during which time I wrote around 120k words, none of which I'm using. And that doesn't even include all the words I deleted as I went along. Once I settled down, got a plan, pen and a notebook and just started grinding? Chapter a week, without fail. That's a novel in 5 months, easy.

But the thing that really feels strange about this book is *acceptance*. I'm not writing to impress anyone. I 'm not writing to make an impression, or catch the attention of an editor or agent or audience. I wrote some chapters I liked, and someone bought the book. So now I'm writing the rest of the chapters that I like, and I already know someone will like it. The other books and stories I've written have all gone through workshops, beta readers, writing groups and critiques galore. This one, I'm just writing. Because I know I like it. And I know someone else will too.

That's a hell of a load off your shoulders, mate. Liking what you're doing. Hell of a thing.


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