<$Susan Goodwill$>

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NaNo #16 The Swamp

Keep to the path people, it's a swamp out there and it's full of alligators!
One of the hardest things for me to do once I reach mid-point in a book is to stay on track and move forward. I want to stray off the path and pick up every breadcrumb I've dropped. It's a dangerous game. I could get eaten up before I reach home.
Guess what? I really don't have to get off the path at all! I could leave those breadcrumbs. Gators won't bother with them. They want the whole author.
So, if I resist and get to the end of my draft, when I go through the second time, armed with a finished story, I can find those crumbs and make sure they are where they need to be in my story. That's what everybody tells me, and they should know, right?
My problem is that I rarely trust myself to do that, so I go back and back and back. I gather all my crumbs and line them up on the path in perfect order. I pull scenes, change things, diddle around. Now, I must admit that this week I went back a lot and lost all forward movement on my book. However, I feel I have a better book for it. But now, forward movement becomes hard and I have to really push to get it back. Momentum is lost and I have to fight. But I like the new work I did this week.
Arrgh! I tried so hard to write that encouraging "don't back up" speech here and i had to gum it up. I had to go and be honest about my own process.
So which way is right?
Arrgh again! Both.
So much of writing seems to be about blind trust and overcoming fear and resistance and just doing what YOU think is right for each individual book.

Woody Allen said that ninety percent of genius is just showing up. My agent says, Do it ayway you want. It's about producing a story, You Big Ninny. (You should meet my agent...)

So. Show up, struggle, wrestle that alligator to the floor any way you can. Then build a pen for him in the swamp out back. And be proud of your pet. You can do it!