From Stephen King's

On Writing: 

A Memoir of the Craft

"I did three single-spaced pages of a first draft, then crumpled them up in disgust and threw them away."

When writing Carrie, his 1974 breakthrough novel. His wife pulled the papers from the trash and convinced him to keep writing.

Reporting In

Last month I promised to share how successful I was with November's NaNoWriMo (an international challenge to write a novel in a month). The best spin I can put on how it went: not so well. The goal was 50,00 words. My total so far: 15,323 (a combination of new words and editing old journals I was using).  

            The program is designed to be a first draft, to keep writing and not think too much, which didn't work well for me. My typical process is to write a while, then come to a point where I say "this is terrible," throw much of it out, and start again with cleaner, more focused writing. That's what happened to me this time. About one-third of the way through the month, I lost faith in what I was putting on paper. My vision was muddy, but I kept writing until I felt I was wasting my time. I had too many themes and didn't know how to combine them, or to choose one. My writing group helped me edit six pages, and encouraged me to continue. One person even said: "This is the best writing I've seen you do." But I haven't figured my way forward. I'm mulling over their comments, trying to stay true to my voice (which quivers at times, like now), and I still have little clarity on where I want to end up. 

            So I'm struggling. Still writing a little, but without inspiration, since I don't have a vision. I've heard artists talk about putting unfinished paintings in a drawer, uninspired or unhappy with how they've turned out, then finding them later, reworking them, and liking their end results. Maybe that's what I'll do. Or maybe I'll use some of it for short pieces. Or maybe I'll never look at it again. No predictions at this point, but it's been an interesting exercise in process.

            I don't plan to participate in NaNoWriMo again next year though.

            Because of my November challenge, my latest piece for this website is a short writing from years ago using the prompt I Am. It's my experience of being a strong, independent woman, and how that's sometimes perceived by men. Perhaps some of you can relate. Click here.


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