I’ve taken a look at my writing method lately. I write and edit as I go. Everyone says this is madness, that I ‘should’ not do this. I’ve tried not to do it, but I still do. This is one of those things that cannot be changed, so must be accepted, and once accepted, I can work with it. Or at least I don’t expend my energy on the useless endeavor of fighting this method.
For my current writing project, I’ve restarted it and restarted it. I’ve shifted this plot, this setting, these people, and re-shifted. This has gone on for months. I despaired over this. But I could not seem to stop it. I’ve had many interruptions that kept jarring me off track, however I kept returning to these two main characters, both women. I love them, so it becomes a challenge to give them the best story that I can. And I wondered if perhaps this restarting was a part of my new method that works for me now. Again, I quit trying to force myself to work at writing the way I thought I ‘should’, but decided to just let myself do as I needed to do. In this way I’m honoring my natural process.
I have 1-2 hours each morning that I can call my own. Rather than despair this isn’t enough, I sit and write on my novel project. I take what comes. The next day I do it again. The next day again. On days when I cannot do that, I don’t worry about it.
I decided I am in a writing-to-find-my-story phase. I recognize that as a viable and necessary phase now. The past week, an idea came to me, and I followed it–years ago I heard a famous writer say she always started her novel with her characters getting off a train. She might change it later, but that got her started. In yet another start to the novel, I began with my characters getting off a train. I decided that I didn’t want to come to the end of my life and not have written someone getting off a train. My novel is set in 1949, so this is perfect. It made me so happy as to propel me along for pages. New enlightenments to the characters and plot unfolded naturally. And I know this is the permanent beginning, finally.
In the past it was my method to write about 60 pages and then begin to lay out my plot on Post-it notes that I could move around. I’m already doing the Post-it notes right at the outset, but this is because I have begun this novel in Scrivener! I can’t believe I’ve taken to a new program, but believe me, it is only because it is as easy as they say it is. I tried the novel format in Scrivener, but dropped back to the plain generic format; works so much better for me. With the cork board feature, I am able to put in my ideas of what the chapter is about, go back and refine again and again, the more clear I get. It is like throwing out the Post-it note and writing new, and all in one place.
As I was peeling apples this morning for a very important apple crisp, rather than writing, I was thinking of the book and had a helpful idea. I must count on synchronicity to help me write. I’ve been worried about a plot idea that involves a mystery. I haven’t been able to solve the mystery, so have been afraid of writing myself into a corner.
But why not let my mind–trust my mind and the unseen powers that bring ideas just when I need them–to come up with the solution? This is after all, the joy of writing and being a writer. It is the ‘trust and the net will appear’. If it sounds like madness, well that is one definition. Others are inspiration, creativity, God.
I think every book I have written has wanted to be written as much as I’ve ever wanted to write it. I must remember that, and count on it.
“As you move toward a dream, the dream moves toward you.”
― Julia Cameron
The thing is, you have to move.