Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday musings on practice makes perfect

Hi old friends.  I'm so sorry I've abandoned you these last few weeks.  For some reason I've been in a blogging rut--very little to say, other than, yep, still writing, still struggling.  That Christmas story I started back in December has become something of an obsession, as I've decided to try and make it my submission piece for the writing program.  In a way this has relieved some stress because I no longer have to feel like I've got no ideas, but at the same time the pressure is twenty-fold because I know I must make this really good.  It's such an internal mind game with me: I know that I can do this, I know that if I got into this program I would flourish there and learn valuable things that would help propel me to the next level of my writing capabilities (maybe a novel?), and yet there are many moments in the day where I truly lose sight of all that, and start thinking about working at Talbots again.

But enough of the melodramatics...  That's where things stand.

So all of that stuff said, I've really missed blogging and the ability to write what I'm feeling on any given day or sometimes go off into strange territory just writing about some aspect of life I've been thinking about lately.  So I apologize, and I'm back.  Sorry everyone, but the beginning of the new year is always a tough time for me.

I think I mentioned to all of you back in December that I was loving a book of short stories by Maile Meloy (who, I've since found out is the sister of Colin Meloy of the Decemberists! what a talented family!) called Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.  No doubt I've been trying to channel her as I write my own short story.  The truth is, the only way to get better at writing is to read read read and then write write write.  The summer before I went away to college, I remember reading 35 books (in a three month period).  (Thanks to my dad for letting me read while I worked at his office.)  It was interesting to then go back and look and the stuff I'd written before that reading binge and compare it to the stuff written immediately after.  In so many ways, grasping the nature of a strong narrative has to become internalized--something you're not so much thinking about as just naturally producing like tears, or saliva.  Furthermore, it's interesting to examine what I imagine as the "rungs" of my writing life.  With each new piece of writing I climb a little higher and complicate things a little more.  With each new story you're adding one more thing you want to try and perfect on the paper and ultimately I imagine that you're able to hold in your brain a million different worries about what you're doing and work to avoid mistakes.  But this philosophy can be hard to live by.  My tendency is to look at every story like it should be good, polished, something I'd be willing to submit for publication.  But in reality even the crappy stuff can be helpful--sometimes the best way to avoid going wrong is to examine what happens when things do go wrong so you can right yourself when all hell breaks loose.  Yep, it's a lot like working for NASA.

So as I grow more frustrated by the day, I have to remember to trust myself.  To have faith that even if I mess something up while I'm writing, there is this magical thing waiting in the wings called editing, where I'll force myself to be critical and find the missing pieces that, contrary to popular belief, are not gone forever.

See you tomorrow.  I promise.

1 comment:

  1. Yay!! You're back!!I hadn't checked your blog in a few days. It's good to see you writing again. Keep climbing those rungs.We love the reading. . More from me later


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