First, here are a few lessons that I’ve learned/ had reiterated to me and some thoughts on Day 11 of my writing journey:
1. I need to remember that journeys are long because I don’t think it’s implicit in the meaning. I’ll have to remember to compare it with a word like trip (e.g. my writing trip which sounds short and sweet as opposed to my writing journey which has been long and arduous.)
2. As for so many of us, my 2020 has felt like one day in March, repeated ad nauseam. Ad infinitum. The repetition doesn’t imply that the days have gotten easier. Instead, I think I put up less of a struggle. I have a working first draft of my first book but the more I read it, the more I want to correct and fix. Write. Scratch out. Rewrite. Repeat.
3. Being a writer means you veer dramatically between moments of joy because you think you have written something that sounds good and may move someone to emotion followed almost instantly by moments of scorn that you actually believe that someone will read this tripe. Write. Critique. Rewrite. Repeat. (Interspersed with hysterical laughter and tears)
4. It is my fervent wish that there is a direct correlation between the quality of the work and amount of work I’ve put in. (Amount of work= persistence (in believing that I can write and showing up to do the work) + struggle to effectively write the story (aka doing the work)).
5. If you’re reading this, and you are working on your own writing project, here is what I think has been the most important lesson of my fiction-writing journey: As a writer, it’s not your job to tell your reader everything. Write enough that the story pulls the reader in but leave enough out that the reader’s imagination comes alive to fill in the gaps. It’s as much about what you don’t tell your reader as it is about the magic your words weave.
I’d love to hear what you think in the Comments below. If you would like start at the beginning, Day 1 of my writing journey is here. You may also be interested in reading about the 10 most important lessons that creative work has taught me.