Several time a week, I really sit and think about what I have written. Writing and gardening, I’ve concluded, are very similar. My first draft is the seed, that is all. And while I have a lot invested in that one seed, in it’s process of breaking out of its shell and becoming so much more than just an idea, I also have to invest in the outcome of that writing. And one seed, I have found, especially if it is a weed, can get out of control.
And so I have found that, as a writer, I must stay wedded to the original idea, or theme, I am working on developing throughout my writing, but that I must not become attached to every single “leaf” or “stem” that develops. In other words, I must be able to “prune” my writing.
Recently, I just started writing my new novel, Left Brain Right. I’ve only written seventeen pages so far, but today I sat down and really thought about those pages.
Does what I wrote connect to the theme I am trying to develop?
Did I entice the reader from the start and make them want to keep reading at the end of every page?
Some pages did, and some did not. So I kept the pages that did, and I cut the pages that did not. Now, I didn’t totally delete the writing, some of it was pretty good and some may be used later. I simply snipped my writing and placed the extras into another document that I could pull and use from later. I guess you could consider the extra fluff writing comparable to compost that I may, or may not, use to add extra nutrients to my story line at a later date and time.
As writers, we can get pretty invested and attached to the words we create. After all, we are artists who paint with words. But I am sure that any painter will tell you that not everything they create is a masterpiece, and so, as artists, we must learn to let go.
p.s. The quote on the post-it-note above is the theme for my novel. So after I write, or better yet, before I write, I ask myself…
How is this writing proving that this character is the miracle in the mess they have been waiting for?
How is this character in the process of self-acceptance and/or self-love?
How are these characters learning about themselves through their reactions with each other and how is this interaction leading them towards love and acceptance of themselves and others?