Tuesday, March 16, 2010

750 words. Hard lessons

I wrote 750 words this morning, which by my standards is nothing to brag about, but I'm recommitting myself to the basic thing -- just write something every day. I've been picking around the edges of different possible scenes this way, not really creating anything tangible, but hopefully doing some necessary seeding that will bear fruit later. I'm just trying to turn myself over to the idea of not knowing what I'm doing. It's been a hard lesson the last couple months. I thought a first draft would emerge as easily as with my first book and that the result would need less work on subsequent drafts. I've turned out wrong on the first item for sure and probably on the second item, too.

I read Jane Smiley's most recent novel the other day, which inspired me to go online and read some criticism of it, which lead me to an old interview with her from about 8 years ago. In that interview, she's basically summarizing what she says in Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Novel, which I've quoted here several times in the past already. But it was a kick in the pants to hear it again in a different way. She talks about just finding the energy and momentum to push through to the end. Make it as crummy as it needs to be just so long as it keeps moving forward. "Just add sentences." That was mantra the first time, and it has to be this time.

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