Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One page at a time...

Gosh, I can't believe how quickly these post dates come around! And I have been boxing my brain and willing the topic to come to me. And so it did! Last night I came across an article about John Steinbeck, which included his sis tips for writing. Steinbeck is one of my favourite authors. I just love Grapes of Wrath, the book and the movie. This reminds me, I must replace my hard copy. Perhaps today I will even watch the movie.

I chose tip #one. 
  1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
I have been battling with getting the pages written - and I am not going to call it writer's block- I am too afraid I will start indulging, find more excuses! And it is not so much worrying about the time it will take me to complete my second novel, (my first took fourteen years to publication), but the structure, the tone it's going to take, and mostly about writing my truth. Brenda Ueland said, in her book, If You Want To Write, "Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be." 

I have started. I keep opening the few chapters I had cut off from my first novel Force Ripe. I started drafting out ideas for the themes I want to focus on and how I can incorporate them into the story. But now I am also concerned about the people I will hurt if I tell my truth.  You know, I think that should have been for another blog, the "Telling your truth and hurting people",  so I must get back to the issue here. Losing track of the 400 pages.....writing just one page at a time. That must be the most sure way of getting that book written. Just getting the writing down, one page at a time.

These past few months, because life happens, I have had to force myself to literally take one day at a time. Take each day as it came and go with it. I chose not to clutter my head with stuff which is unnecessary. So much so that I didn't even listen to the news, answer my phone - most times I forgot to change the silent setting, so I missed my calls, messages were unanswered. I guess this would be labelled as "depression". In the world in which I grew up, that is not a word I knew. Not at all. Never knew that word until I met my husband,so I try not to entertain it. I guess that would be one of the reasons I am unable to move on with my writing. And it doesn't matter how many articles one reads on the topic or how many workshops one attends, it is down to the individual. I have to get this book completed. As Steinbeck goes on to say, "If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that make a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story"

There is no sure formula, but one page at a time sounds doable enough. As the saying goes, "one one cocoa full a basket". One page at a time. Write on!


Linda Thorne said...

Good advice. I keep looking at how far I have to go when I should be looking at how much I've reduced that huge volume even if a few pages here and there, which is about all I've been able to do in the last couple of months.

Charles Gramlich said...

sounds like a good idea. basically, one step at a time. Good advice

Carol Mitchell said...

This could not have been more timely. I have been tossing a novel idea around in my head but feeling daunted by the task. One page at a time seems doable indeed!

Liane Spicer said...

Great advice, but so hard to follow, Cindy. It's our nature to obsess.