The Writing Life: Chopsticks and Dust

Sometimes you just have to start writing in order to get anywhere. This is another made up as I go along blog – welcome to spontaneity land!

I am still editing. That basement full of dust covered tables? I’m working on them with chopsticks, one tiny clump at a time. I can’t say it’s ideal, but difficult progress is being made: more notes accumulated for small scale revisions, more touches to make the book read a little better every time, both on the outside, in terms of the way it meets the reader’s eye and mind, and on the inside by virtue of improved internal structure and consistency.

Upgrading a book is like polishing a ship’s hull while at the same time rearranging the cargo and refitting the engine – all greatly improve the vessel’s performance, but most of it stays entirely hidden from the passengers who just want to enjoy their time on deck, taking in the view. A lot of work happens below the waterline in the writer’s life.

I used to read articles where novelists discussed all the hard work of writing a book, and I thought they were making it up. Writing a story wasn’t that tough, thought the youthful I, and it still isn’t, in many ways – the difficulty comes in deciding when you have done justice to your story in the word choices you have made to best express your ideas, and the emotions you seek to convey, and perhaps create in others. Boy, that part is tough.

Anyway, the work continues. I have not as much time, or energy as I’d like to pursue it, but life is compromises, bargains even, and just as my characters do, I have to make mine and live with them.

I thank you for your patience. More anon.

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