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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Funny: Knowing Isn't the Same Thing as Doing

How many times have we heard that thinking about writing isn't writing? Talking about writing isn't writing. Planning to write isn't writing. Meaning to write isn't writing. Wanting to write isn't writing.

I know this. Still, I'm gathering thoughts and ideas for another novel. I've been thinking about the characters, digging deeper so I can know them better. I've been noodling over the plot, the turning points, and the key scenes.

But what I hadn't so much doing had been...writing it.

Maybe most writers need a little fallow time to nourish the creative soil. I think I do, but I also know that a little downtime can creep toward procrastination, which after too long, can feel paralyzing, like I can't write.

Last week I dug in and actually began, you know: WRITING the novel, rather than jotting down notes for scenes and ideas about where the characters live and why her mother is like that. Stitching up the characters' backstory, knowing which corner store they visit and why, and that in 4th grade she stole a book from the school library, all that's important for the author to know. For me, the tempation is to dwell in all that minutiae, all that planning and getting-ready-to.

Reading Elizabeth Gilbert's piece on writing helped spur me on.

I had to dig in and do it. Now I've started, and it's exhilarating and scary at the same time. Isn't it always?

1 comment:

  1. so how do prolific bookers do it? The planning time? I know Isabell Allende begins a book every February. Alice Hoffman seems to turn them out in droves.The one I'm working on, we noodled about for three years. Is there a schedule for the planning? Maybe I'll know by the second book.