Writing is a process. So says anyone who has done it, for money or for pleasure. Writing in some form has been a part of my life for most of the years I’ve known how to build words out of letters on paper. Most of my writing has been quite personal, in journals, diaries, and lengthy scrapbook notes. This blog site I’m writing at now began almost twelve years ago as a way to share, with our family and friends, how my cancer journey was progressing. Thankfully, that ceased to be a reason to write almost ten years ago. But the need to put words to paper, in a digital sense at least, didn’t. The problem with blogging, however, is it must be done regularly if you’re going to share it because it’s easy for others to fill their time with other things while you’re figuring out what to write. Anybody identify? But I keep plugging away, sporadically, but I try, anyway.
So, yeah, writing is definitely a process. A journey with often many detours. Which leads me on to what is really in my heart today–the book I’m now trying to write. A story has been on my heart for seven years. Yep. Seven. It’s difficult to imagine that my brain can hold a thought for seven years, but apparently it can. And has. Sort of. It took the entire seven years to write 10,000 words. Just to so you understand how many words in a book, Gone With the Wind has just over 418,000 words! Wow. A more modest tome, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has over 38,000 words. The typical fiction novel today has approximately 80,000-100,000 words. So, yeah, it took me seven years to write the introduction basically.
But then, in the months since January of this year–now it’s April, so that’s just over two months–I wrote another 37,000 words! Amazing, right? The book was sizzling, yeah? Not really. It wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. It’s not a bad story that I’ve written so far. It’s just not the story that’s on my heart to write. Not really. So what do you do when the story in your head sounds wrong on paper? You figuratively throw it in the trash and start over. From scratch. The outline I had intricately designed on my wall complete with notes and quotes and thoughts came down yesterday. Now I’m looking at a blank wall of bulletin board. Entire. Wall. Blank. Just like the new file I created for what I’m going to write. Except I’m not exactly certain where to begin. And as soon as I get a firm grip on where I want the beginning to begin, I’ll begin writing again. This process is painfully slow. I know many have a smooth rhythm to writing thousands of words a week. And hopefully, some day I’ll get there, too.
But for now, I’m muddling through, learning the ropes on this “new” adventure of being a writer, while imperfectly trying to write down the characters in my head in such a way that others will care about them as much as I do. Because they are likable people. Three dimensional, lots of character flaws, breathing, walking, talking, crying, laughing, loving, hating, likable people with fears and goals and thoughts and dreams. And somehow, I’ll figure out how to paint the picture of their lives for you. And when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Promise. Well, next to my hubby and sons, that is! 😉