<$Susan Goodwill$>

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!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the intro to the _Power of Myth_ CD. I suddenly had this image that all writers weren't just writing the Hero's journey over and over and over again. We were actually *doing* it by writing. We're doing this crazy thing, spending time, creating elaborate rituals and justifications and such.

The truth is, we have a dream few people see. We have to go on these little journeys. So, who cares what the process is? Doesn't it change just a little for each little book, because you're always walking on slightly new ground?

Saturday, November 18, 2006  
Blogger Susan Goodwill said...

Yep. I agree. Except I am a process geek-- in case you hadn't noticed by all these posts!
I love learning from others about the tricks they use to get their alligators to the pen.
But again, I contend that the showing up is more than half the battle.

Sunday, November 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize one could 'hover' over oneself. But this post proves you're doing it! Ever read the comic "Pearls Before Swine" in the Freep? The "zeebahs" have those alligators next door all figured out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006  
Blogger Susan Goodwill said...

Yes, but I never knew all alligators were all Latino.

Lila and I have a history. She knows that in work situations I have a tendency to hover...

Sunday, November 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Showing up is such a part of the process. And well, maybe I need a more defined process, but showing up and sitting down and *doing* seems to be it for now. When I play with doing things differently, I get stumped.

Brava, and all that. Here's to the the battle and all that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006  

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