Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writer's Muck

As one new to the writing craft, there is much that makes me feel like my writing boots are mired in muddy muck. And it might seem easy to step out of my writing boots onto less murky shores, remove my (now) muddy socks, and walk away barefoot and free. But as writers know, that's really not easy. Not at all.

Even though the writing process is work, literally built one word at a time, when writing lives inside who you are, walking away isn't an option. Characters whisper to you. Settings beckon to be created. Plots align themselves within you.

But when my current work in progress, now seventeen chapters in, told me it began in the wrong place, that instead it begins *here* (chapter 7), discouragement settled heavily into my heart. Immediately, I wanted to change and revise and fix. But that means the rest of the story doesn't get told for a long, long time.

Two writer friends told me to keep writing and think about the rest later. One @mention on Twitter from Noelle Pierce came to mind also. She told me this a few weeks ago (when I said I don't even know if I write well): Get the story out...writing "well" comes in edits.

I'm sticking it out in my writing boots, even though they're mired in muddy muck right now. Word by word my story will be built. And then I'll journey down Revising Road with helpful writerly friends who will bolster me in writing well. I'm certain Revising Road will look like this. Don't tell me if it doesn't.


  1. Yes, spit out your story. I've rewritten my first chapter 4 times, but I do it in revision. Don't worry about holes or dumps or boringness until you type The End. Then be critical. Hang in.

  2. Thank you. I needed to hear that. Exactly that. You have no idea.

  3. Barbara, that is exactly what I tell my students. I say they need to be patient and just wander around in the muck of a first draft. It's hard to do, but I'm sure the structure will emerge the longer you tromp around in the mud. I look forward to reading about your journey!

  4. Kate, yes, I've told students the same thing. It's so very hard to actually do myself. (and thanks also for the follow!). Tromp. Tromp. Still there, but it's okay.


Comments. Yay! They're almost as good as chocolate. Almost.