The Struggles of a Fledgeling Writer

Once again, the importance of planning is arising in the execution of a project. My first novel, The Gentry, was drafted in 2014. It has sat, unedited for two years. I had planned much of the character details for several years before I actually sat down to write. It was not, however, well plotted. Now, there is much to do in order to attempt to salvage it.

The novel I’m drafting this month is beginning to show signs of some of the same shortcomings. I have not done enough planning and what planning I did hasn’t all been reflected in what I’ve actually written so far. The technique that I chose to get past the block that I found myself struggling with yesterday was to punt and write about something that happened before the point at which I initially started this novel.

I didn’t particularly like the way I began this novel anyway. Having some more scenes from that period in the timeline of the story will let me play with exactly how I intend to start the story.

In much the same way, I will write other fragments of the story tomorrow morning and see if by so doing I can pull a full blown novel out of my hat again this year.

The more times that I get to the end of the fifty thousand word challenge, whether I have actually finished a draft of a novel or not, the more I will have learned about what I have done right, what I’ve done wrong, and what I need to adjust when I write again.

And I will continue to write. Because the fact is, I’ve become engaged by it. It is something that I want to get better at. It is something that I am willing to work hard to become better at. It is something that I must do. That is the only excuse for art that counts. You write, or draw, or compose music, or whatever it is that your muse bids you do, because you can not help doing it.

One of my mother’s favorite stories was about a famous actress who had come to the university where she went to school on a speaking tour. The actress had spoken and done dramatic readings and otherwise entertained the audience for about an hour or so. At the end of her performance she asked if anyone in the audience would like to ask a question.

One student stood up and asked her, “Should I become an actress?” She stopped for a dramatic pause and then answered her, “No, my dear, you should not. You should be a lawyer or a scientist or a mathematician. You should be anything but an actress. You should only be an actress if you absolutely can not be anything else.”

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.