Variety

Words, Words, Words

[Warning – strong language included in this post, I thought about taking them out but decided not to, this is my truth]

Today I am thankful that I finally just don’t give a damn anymore and I started my book. In two days I’ve written a tad over 8,000 words. No, it’s not a lot but I have experienced a break-through and I’d like to thank the American people. LOL

For the longest time I’ve struggled to write this book. I’d start and get a little ways into and stop. I’d delete it all thinking, “This is just all crap!!!” I had it in my head that it had to be PERFECT AS I WROTE IT. Then I read somewhere on Twitter or something via NaNoWriMo to give myself permission to write a crappy first draft and that editing is for later. You can’t edit something that’s not written.

Now, I’ve heard this all before but for some reason it never got through to me until I got the wind knocked out of me on November 7th, 2012, the day after the election and I was so bummed out and hurt and depressed and sad. That is what I needed apparently because I was so down in the dumps and didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything. Later in the day, much later, I found myself opening up a new blank Word document and started typing with savage vehemence. I didn’t even think. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t care what it read like, that it had grammatical errors everywhere, that the scenes didn’t flow, or how silly and stupid the story line may have sounded, that it dragged in parts or that I had to reach for something that didn’t matter. I typed it all in. I filled the page with meaningless words; crappy words for sure.

Yes, I have a story line, an idea, a timeline for my novel. I have a beginning, middle, and end with a climax and everything. The main character of course has to go through something difficult and learn from the experience, coming out the other side a better person. I have names for my characters, a setting, problems, flaws, resolutions, and all that fun stuff. It’s been in my head for a long time. But every time I would sit down to try and write it, well, I hated it and would trash it…. because it didn’t come out PERFECTLY the first time! Then I’d get all discouraged and quit for a while.

It wasn’t until I lost all control of my mental and emotional faculties that I was able to write. Okay, a little exaggeration there but that’s what it felt like. I had to abandon my brain and heart. I had to step outside of myself and just say, “Fuck it, fuck you (Carol), I’m writing this. Yes, it will be crappy but it is SUPPOSED to be crappy the first time. So you will just sit there and take it little missy.”

Do you remember making love the first time? How awkward and crappy and fumbling things were that first time with someone new? That is, until you got to know each other better and more intimately and then you “knew” what to do to do the job right? No? Maybe I’m the only one.

Yeah, writing is like that too. That first draft is awful. Just once, I’d like to read the first draft of one of Stephen King’s books, or Elizabeth Berg, or Elizabeth Gilbert, or J.K. Rowling’s first draft.

So while my little 8,000 words isn’t a whole lot, it means a lot to me. I hope I can keep up my wild abandonment and keep writing. I hope I can keep typing the words and not go back over them and talk myself out of it. I hope I can keep this free feeling and continue to give myself permission to write that first crappy draft. Editing is for later Carol, later!

The more I write the better I feel and the better I feel the more I want to continue with this new found freedom. It feels so stinking good!

I have a three day weekend coming up where I have absolutely no plans, well, I do have a wedding to attend and a Georgia football game to watch, but other than that I think I will get a ton of writing done. I’m on a roll. I just have to remember to keep giving myself that permission to write like shit.

Today I am grateful for that permission.

Thanks for reading –

10 Comments

  • T.K. Thorne

    Hi Carol,
    Way to go! Absolutely you should give yourself permission to have it as “crappy” as necessary to get the words down. Find what works for you! You actually have a lot going in terms of know what your structure is and even, it sounds like, your plot and character development all laid out. (I once started a novel with a vague idea of an ending, no beginning, no idea about the characters and the first sentnce surprised the heck out of me!) I’m guess you are a pretty organized person, but now you have to let your right brain take over, listen to your characters and be open to letting them make some decisions, even surprise you. That is one of great joys of writing a novel.
    I’ve made an offer to Janes working on a book to join a Blog Chain to answer some questions about your Work In Progress. It’s a great opportunity. If you’re interested in more info to consider it, email me at TK@tkthorne.com
    Best of Luck. Keep Writing!

  • Robert Salinas

    Carol,
    For many years I’ve read your blogs and articles and other things. Today, I’m proud to see you have taken the next step to get in there and do what you want to do; write what you want to say. Tell the story; that’s what important. Use whatever happens to you to motivate you into putting out a great product. Remember, you have to put it on the page before you can clean it up. You have the right idea, just get it done. can’t wait to read it. Best always…BTLRP!

  • Russ

    “Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
    –Tennyson

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