Monday, January 14, 2013

Writers' amnesia

Hindsight enables me to look back on past writing projects and see how I dug each finished story out of the ground. Now that I know what I was digging up, it seems inevitable. I can see where the beginning came from, how the ending fit in, etc., the way an archaeologist might map out a buried city. Unless I revisit my early drafts and deleted scenes, I forget that at the time I first wrote it I was wandering, stumbling into dead ends, backtracking. I often had no clue where I was heading.

This becomes most relevant when I'm working on new projects, and I find myself frustrated by my inability to tear straight through them from first page to final page. It's as if I've never been through this crazy unpredictable process before.

Most laughable of all is the fact that the book I just wrote was my most difficult ever. It involved more false starts, more drafts, more rewrites, more abandoned characters strewn by the wayside, than any of my previous books. So you would think the knowledge that writing is not a straight road but a circuitous path would be fresh in my mind. To which I say: you would think that, but oh, how wrong you would be.

I suppose the delusion that This time, it will be easy! is one of the self-protective mechanisms that enables us to keep at this.

4 comments:

  1. I find it absolutely amazing how easily I forget the process of writing a book. I think the excitement of finishing one book somehow erases the hardships of getting there, I don't know. We're all crazy, lol.

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  2. Thanks for keeping at it, Jenn. I eagerly await the latest excavated treasure. ^_^

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    1. And thank you for that kind boost of energy!

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