Writing is the easy part. Well, not quite easy. It can be a real chore, depending on the subject matter or how inspired I am to be writing what I’m writing. Usually, though, I write what I want, when I sit down to write creatively. I know that throughout the month of November I was able to sit down at my computer and just let the words pour out. It was the easy part.
It’s always been relatively easy for me, though some of my early forays into creative writing turned out quite rudimentary and even bore me to tears to read them back after all this time. Sometimes I still write a piece or two that make me cringe, but it’s gotten rarer over time. I think that’s because I realized somewhere along the way that I don’t have to be perfect, that my writing is always a work in progress.
The reason I used to always be so frightened of writing a novel was that I wasn’t sure I could corral my perfectionist spirit long enough to just get the words down. Because getting the words down is the first step, really, after getting the idea and planning it all out. The words are the windows to the world I’m creating, but they took so long to come due to my constant editing while writing. This word wasn’t quite the right one. Time to visit the thesaurus. This word didn’t quite work with that word. Time to revise the whole sentence.
So it became a tedious process, and I decided to focus on smaller pieces. What changed for me–what made the writing so much easier–was telling myself it was okay to get the words out, telling myself I could revisit it later, for all the fun editing. Don’t believe a writer if they tell you the editing is the easy part, or the fun part. It’s very rarely either for a writer. It is merely a necessary part of the drafting process, the culling of words, the addition of words, the transformation of entire pages of words.
I call it the cutting floor, because so much gets trimmed and rearranged. It’s like getting a haircut and seeing all that old hair on the floor. It was just fine on my head, but now that it’s on the floor I can appreciate how much lighter I feel. In that way, after the each draft, I can admire what I’ve created from the initial “word dump” that started the enterprise. It has allowed me to complete drafts of novels I never would have even attempted before. I only wish it hadn’t taken me into my 30’s before I figured that out.
But I embrace it anyway. It might never have come at all. So, this month, it’s time for that culling, for that transformation of words, for the hard part. I also call it the fulfilling part, though, because it is the next step in eventually letting others see it and appreciate it for themselves. It may not be the easy part, but I’ve found much more fun it it lately.