Writing is an experience unlike any other I have had. One day I am full of ideas and can’t type fast enough to get them down, and others I stare at a blank screen trying to force words onto the page. Writing is by far the most rewarding, frustrating thing I have done.
The Constant Self Editing
When I wrote the prologue to the novel I am working on, I was sitting in a work truck along the railroad tracks, waiting for a train to go by so we could get back to work. A thought hit me, I started to day dream, “Yesssss” I thought, “this is great!”
I grabbed a notebook and started scribbling (lest the faeries in my head fly off with all my good ideas). When I was done I had some very amused colleagues and around 800 words scribbled on a yellow legal pad. I was still was pumped, but as I read it over I started making edits. Arrows pointed here and there with tiny words scribbled in the margins. There were scribble marks, and new sentences all over the page. In other words, it looked a mess.
I tore off the page and began to rewrite it. I wanted to at least making it legible so I could understand my own writing. As I rewrote, I reedited. In the end, I had a slightly more legible copy. The train passed and off to work I went, leaving the prologue of my novel sitting on the seat of the truck.
Since that initial draft, I have rewritten those little 800 words no less than 5 times. 800 words out of what I hope will be a 70,000 word novel.
The Brilliant Ideas
I have started 5 novels, written several short stories and even jotted down some poetry. Some have been lost to internet viruses, some had problems I didn’t think could be over come, all started with one little brilliant idea.
These ideas kick in at the most inopportune moments. In the shower, driving down the highway, or mid-conversation. I have notes on my phone, in One note, in my journal and on many little scraps of paper floating around the house.
They are like a bolt of lightning in my brain. On long trips I have been known to see some little speck of something and grab a pen and an envelope from the floor of the vehicle and start scribbling. These lightning bolts are some of the highest highs in the writing process.
The Trash it All Moments
I have climbed aboard the writing roller coaster many times. Along with my books, I write a happiness blog. My last blog post, called Overcoming Anger, was a great example of a trash it all moment. I wrote 1000 words on my topic and felt pretty good about it. I woke up the next morning and hated it so much I chopped it down to 400 words and rewrote the rest.
Each piece I write has the potential to end up in the virtual circular file. Most of the time I can’t tell you exactly what I hate about the piece, I just decide it’s terrible and toss it. The only good part of this process is I usually am happier with the final piece, but it is not always an easy ride.
And I Can’t Get Off The Ride
I am totally in love with this art form. I love the art of the story. I love the magic and power of words on a page. The challenge writing presents is an intense series of ups and downs. Your ego is bruised, battered and then picked back up again. If you choose to publish your writing, people you don’t know will hail you as a hero and curse you as the devil.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. You must be able to pour your heart onto a page, only to have your audience reject it. You must be willing to listen to people who can not see the vision in your head, and trust they will make you better. If you are interested in being a writer, keep your seat belt fastened and your arms and legs inside the vehicle, it’s going to be a wild ride.