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number 18

Week 18 allowed me to grow up

This week I barely put pen to paper. After sitting down to rewrite a chapter from the novel, what resulted just felt like rehashing. The character was clearer and the dialogue better, but it was the same package with nicer wrapping paper and a bow.

At first I felt disheartened, but then realised this was an opportunity. Right now feels like the time for something new. A fresh start for my writing without the baggage of previous drafts and plots that just don’t seem to work. As I get further through this writing process I realise that ideas are not the issue. They never really have been. The real issue is figuring out what to concentrate on, what you really want to write about and say.

Armed with that realisation I thought about themes this week. Pondered on all the books that I loved from childhood upwards and thought about what they were trying to say. What had the writer chosen to focus on and explore through their writing? How did the character’s journey enable them to do that? Some were easy, but the majority were much more complicated to ascertain. Their stories were layered, packed with overlapping themes that made it hard to see where one started and the other ended. I think it is easy to forget that analysing writing is just as important as actually writing.

So with all that in mind I have decided to unwrap a girl I have been writing sporadically. She is untouched and unsullied by overthinking, a fact that excites and terrifies me. I have no idea how much I have written about her as it has been over a few months and I have never reread my scrawlings. But before I embark on the unveil, I need time to reflect and think about what I really want to say and explore through her story. Impatience is one of my great faults and more often than not  I jump on a story and hope for the best rather than allowing it to unfurl in its own time. Of course characters and plot often need a nudge, but they also need time to breathe. My challenge over the next few weeks is going to be to allow the time for that unfurling and resist the urge to rush in.

This insight is very apt on week 18, the age when a child transitions into adulthood. Perhaps as a writer I am finally growing up!

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