on the business of writing

Part of me feels slightly false posting this video, as I’ve learned that while my novel-in-progress, Mammoth, is ambitious and ferocious in scope, it still needs a considerable amount of work. Right now it suffers from a lack of structure, which will allow for the telling of a story — a novel that feels very much like a nesting doll — to be seamless. The structure needs to allow for you to connect to the characters in a way that doesn’t create dissonance, yet nearly everything I write has an element of dissonance — an imaginary wall separating me from you. Language allows me to do this, create walls and break them, but right now, as I type, my ability to erect walls is preventing me from writing a truly wonderful book. My agent gave me some tremendous feedback that called out all these things, and at first I was angry, but then realized he was right. I’m printing out the 130 pages I have and will try in the coming months to set landmines in areas where I use language as a shield rather than a door you can easily walk through. A heart that is penetrable.

Like life, I guess.

You can’t know how I much I struggle with structure, because it feels confining. It feels as if I have to adhere to rules and order and harmony, yet I need it. I need it to be the frame and foundation for how I tell the story of a woman unraveling.

So Lexee, Stephanie, Arlene and Judy — take this advice with a grain of salt, because I’m endlessly struggling with writing, too.

11 thoughts on “on the business of writing

  1. Me too! The structure of writing. The structure of life in general. Also using other “things” or “stuff” that almost subconsciously censors my writing. I struggle with true honesty in my writing at times and then it feels contrived. And so I keep plugging and hoping and this is one place where my hope comes alive:)

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  2. I agree with Laurel. I was thinking about how your words are relating to my need for structure in daily life, while you speak about the structure of writing. After these past few months of following your blog on here, I’m looking forward to the finishing of Mammoth.

    I really appreciate that you connect in a real way with your viewers. Always commenting, replying, and taking the time for video chats. Thats why your followers are the real kind. You speak of separating yourself with the constant building of walls, but to some of us- you’re quite an open book. Or at least, more so than you think.

    I’m not a writer nor have a studied writing in my past, but I’ve kept journals my entire life. That has been my ‘writing’. At the beginning of this year I stopped journaling because life got a little busy and hectic, and I just didn’t have the time to write like I used to. Now that I’ve started this blog I find that it’s almost (but not quite) replaced that journaling. It’s a way to stay creative, even if a post or two simply has a recipe and small life-blurb.

    So, even for us non-writers: it’s lovely to have your wisdom from experience, because the way you describe your work is so easily translated to how we live our lives in general. Thank you for sharing, as always,

    Ashley

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