Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Writing is like grief

Newport Oregon

I had coffee with a friend the other day. She said she hadn’t seen  me around much or received many blog post or e-mails from me.     
What’s up? she asked.
I’m steeped in my novel right now and determined to get it finished. I told her.
Why’s it taking so long? She asked.
I hate that question.
It’s like grief, I told her; It takes as long as it takes.

The truth is that for the first time in my life I’ve given myself permission to do one thing, and one thing only; write the best story I can, then re-write it until it’s the best I’m capable of, and then turn it over to better writers for feedback.
This is no small task, I told my friend. No small task at all.
I showed her the intricate tools, charts and graphs I’m using to stay on track with my story line, characters and so forth. I’m writing a complex story, with a story embedded in the story. I showed her what I was working on.
That’s a lot of work. She said.
It is. I said. But when I looked at all that work I realized how much closer I am to my goal than I was 3 weeks ago when I decided to stop doing everything at once; writing APPS, travel articles, blogs, working, reading and critiquing other peoples work, and keeping up with the busy life I’d created – it was all a distraction from the book I want to finish. Disconnecting from all that leaves me feeling free to write. What a luxury. Who knew I had the power all along. I just needed the intention.
My husband says I’m the queen of distractions. I can run off in a tangent in any given direction and not return for days. I’m sure it’s some kind of disorder. But, he says, if I focus on something, I’m unstoppable.
As a business person I’ve always been very project oriented, time line sensitive and results driven. As a writer I am all those things, but I need to learn patience with myself, and not be soooo vested in the results. Like grief; it takes as long as it takes. I may not be able to show something for my labors, yet, but when I do, it won’t be rushed and half-assed because my ego wanted a product. It’ll be my best effort, and for me that seems to be taking some time. But I’m okay with that because for the first time in my writing career, I really see the pay off from being patient and really learning the craft, one word and one sentence at a time.

I know I say it all the time, but Jack Remick and Bob Ray are amazing mentors. I’ve learned so much from them this year that I can’t begin to measure how far I’ve come. But then, it’s a life-long apprenticeship, so there’s always a long way to go.

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2011 by in Writing is like grief.
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