The Courage to Write

ImageI am reading a new book. I found it in a sporadic stroll I have started recently of “how-to” books for writing. As I slowly wade through, picking my way on each word and paragraph like an explorer through swampy land, I am realizing things. The sedate pace is not because the book isn’t amazing — it definitely is — and I recommend it for any who are struggling to believe in their writing. It’s because something about each phrase resonates so profoundly within me that I cannot rush. There are a hundred things clamoring for my attention right now, and I continue to come back to this book.

“Faulkner had the courage to accept that flawed work (flawed to him anyway) was better than none at all.” – Ralph Keyes, pg 27

That line accompanied by the facts that I respect Faulkner’s work, the section in the book on writing about what you are afraid to write about, and the crazy response to a short, throwaway post here on the emotions I needed to let out to sleep has thrown into sharp relief what I have been hiding from.

Book 1 needs rewriting not editing. 

Let me outline the differences for my own frame of mind. What I wrote last night was emotional and resulted in a gripping snippet. The opening chapter of my book 1, no matter how I edit it, falls flat. Is it bad? Essentially, I don’t think so. There are elements and emotions there that work well, but it was written by a complacent girl who didn’t live or die by her writing. Alright, that’s a bit melodramatic but truthful enough. I lost my job over my writing, I refuse to lose my heart too.

Right now, I am prepping for NanoWrimo 2012. It’s probably cheating to rewrite the book again. But I was worried about having enough prep to write book 2 on a shaky book 1. I think my old-standby will work instead: writing out of order. I will write 50,000 new words for this November, but they officially don’t have to all come from the same novel.

So I will rewrite the first chapter, and hopefully have enough courage to maybe post some examples of the before and after here. Either way my writing has improved and simply re-editing the same words won’t add my heart back into that opening chapter and it needs to bang.

Write what I should write. Write the way I know how. The rest will follow.

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