Know that you have talent, are original, and have something important to say. - Brenda Ueland

Monday, February 14, 2011


In mid November, when I finished writing my novel I knew that by February I'd be enjoying editing and polishing it up. Making it shine.

But what I've realized that while writing writing writing, I didn't include a few things. Like tension. Or conflict. Or the story.

I've written the world's most boring 84,000+ words.

What needs to happen next is rewriting. Major rewriting. It would be more accurate to say throw the whole thing out and start over but that makes me want to do a face plant on my desk and stay that way for a very long time. Instead, massive, major rewrite.

I'm disappointed in myself, that I didn't do it better. Not that I didn't do it well but that I didn't even do it sorta okay.

It's hard overcoming that to dig in and do the work, more work on the same project.

So it was fortuitous and wonderful that last Friday was the day when my daily read was Elizabeth Gilbert on writing.

As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love).

I needed to hear that. My writing disappointed me but that's okay. That's how it may be. Keep going. Keep writing.

This is the precise reason I bookmark blog posts like that when I come across them. I hang on to them and re-read them. It's uncanny how often what I need to hear, what I need to be reminded of most, comes at the exact right time.

1 comment:

  1. That's a nice way of putting it. I need to learn that too.