Sunday, April 25, 2010
Defeating the Writing Ogres
Sometimes determination and cunning are the only weapons we have to outwit our foe. Pushing ourselves to write, even when the victory seems futile can surprise us. Courage in the face of defeat can send the rocks of our retaliation hurling toward the enemy’s head, buying us time until reinforcements arrive.
Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down the Bones suggests to “take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write, just write.” That’s exactly what I did. I never gave up, although I allowed myself to concentrate on other writing while my subconscious mind worked around the roadblocks of my novel. I took time to restructure my outline, put the research away and began to trust my instincts for survival. To my surprise, as I tried to recapture the segments of my manuscript I had lost, stronger and much more pleasing passages flowed from my depths. I wrote beyond the loss and my characters came up with new ways to direct the story, sending discouragement and self doubt behind enemy lines with their tails between their legs.
I’ve stunned the ogre for now. I’m sure he’s found another tree and is waiting for the right moment to leap out at me. But I’ve learned some strengthening strategies along the road that will aid me in future battles. I’m grateful for my characters too. They’ve taken up the fight and are carving the way to my next victory.
Such is the fairy tale of this feat called writing. But as in all fairy tales, there is a happy ending.