Monday, June 18, 2007

Write Before You're Ready

Okay, so this is harder than it sounds. And I overwrite by hundreds of words. Four pages of crap later, I think I hear something in the writing that could serve as a lead.

Other writers struggle with this: Susan Wise Bauer (see blogroll) wrote a million words for her first book in her four-book series, cutting about half of them; Anne Lamott writes page after page after page of sardonic comments for a single restaurant review, and then cuts it all out mercilessly in her next draft. It's that flinging of the spaghetti onto the cupboards in order to see what sticks.

For me, it's anal retentiveness. What comes out is what I suppose people expect me to say and then once that's out, I realize what I truly wanted to say.

For example, hubby is filling out an application for this training program and must answer five questions. The first of the questions are strained, forced, and generic. Then he gets going on question three and I'm impressed (and I already knew all the information anyway).

It's just how humans download, fling, and crap all over the page until the real deal shows up and connects, sticks, or is washed in the gentle cycle, leaving the gold nugget of expression that actually says something.

So go and write. Even if you scrape all that gunk off eventually, you will begin to see a glimmer of gold in there. I promise.

Keep moving forward.

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