I’m in it now. I’m knee deep in the words and the world, digging into the rich soil of the story. These are the things that struck me as I worked this week.
When writing, don’t focus on editing. Grammar mistakes will happen. Repetition will happen. There are sentences I write that I want to go back and fix immediately. I had to keep fighting the urge and reminding myself: DON’T FIX IT! RESIST!
When you’re in the writing, when the story has got you and it is making your fingers fly across the keyboard or the page, you don’t interrupt the flow for a forgotten comma. That magic I talked about last week is happening, in that moment, and it does not exist in the same realm as revising. Ignore the red lines under all the misspelled words as they popup because you are writing, and writing requires going forward to fill the page with your story, not backward.
Take notes as you write. You are the Big Bang in the universe of your story. There is A LOT going on. Taking notes as your world is building and expanding means things are less likely to get lost in the chaos.
Manuscripts need to be single spaced after every period. It is a hard thing to fight your muscle memory to keep from double tapping that darn space bar. Every. Single. Time.
As I go along, there are SO many answers and SO many MORE questions. Every time I get an answer to something happening in the story, I have a new question about how that happens or where or when. I know that once those questions are answered, there will be more. But, for every answer and every question, another piece of my story is revealed.
I’ve written the first draft of a few chapters and I’ve got the framework for a few more. That’s a funny thing that happens sometimes too. As I draft a chapter, I start realizing that the thing happening in this chapter is going to mean that this other thing has to happen in the next chapter. When that happens, I have to stop drafting the current chapter to make a note in the next chapter about what needs to happen so it doesn’t get lost as I go along.
The last thing that really struck me as I worked this week was how much I’ve changed the way I get into my writing. It used to be, years ago, that I would feel like I had to do certain things to be able to write well, like I had to be able to write for a set amount of time or I had to write in a specific place or only went I felt like I knew what I was going to say. I’ve realized that the writing isn’t channeled because I do any one correct or precise thing. It’s always there, waiting for me. The only thing I’ve ever had to do, is show up. It’s great to have some of those things when I can, but those things are not what make the process work. I can show up tired and weary, uncertain of what I’m going to say, sitting at my desk or on my couch or in bed, and as long as I’m ready to put the work in, it is there.
How are you doing with your story? What are some things you’ve realized this week?