So I’m writing on this new project and I am cranking out pages and words like you wouldn’t believe. I mean this thing has been inside me for thirty years waiting to get out, while I’ve been keeping it tamped down and smoldering like a star with excessive gravity. Scene after scene falls by the way. Thousands of words a day sometimes. I sit down to write 250 and before I know it eight-hundo has clattered by. Bite me writer’s block. I have an overarching story, a frame, a time, an era, a point of view, tense, a cast of characters, a voice and something I never have, a theme (subject to change I’m sure). So what’s the big deal you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
Structure. (Structure block?) How are all these scenes and stuff that are important, vital even, going to fit together to create a seamless narrative? I mean, I am writing word after word like footsteps of a lost hiker in the desert and no idea if I’m going to get out alive. The desert, you ask, and not something infinitely more losable to be in like a forest or a jungle? Well, I’ll tell you. In the desert you can be real fucking lost and see no way out even though you can see for hundreds of miles. “The mountains are right over there!” And that’s where I am with writing on this book. I can see everything for fucking miles except the trail out. No worries.
Kim Barnes once told a whole class of us to trust the process. Keep writing, be uncomfortable in the unknown and stick it out. Much like being lost in the desert. Trust the process. Trust what you know and forge ahead.
Yep, I know how to find water and keep warm and navigate by sun, stars and landmarks and even set snares (aka write words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, blah blah basic writer survival skills) and I know without a doubt that process will get me to where I need to be. Keep laying those damned tracks like words and you will hit the coast eventually. Ah, the far off coast, like a distant lover, waiting like the end of a story to make you smile. Now who wouldn’t want that? I’ll look back and see the trail that it took me to arrive at the end and how it all fits together. I just needed to trust it’d all come together. Yeah, together, but I have to lay the tracks one after the other. Pick them up and put them down as one of my drill sergeants used to yell at us. One after the other for months to see were I get to and see how the trip was made out of that process.
Writing tip. Just write and as Kim said: TRUST THE PROCESS. Just keep piling on the words and because without those words you are just stuck in the desert. I suppose you could also hope you don’t take off for the farthest away coast, but it can happen and you should always be prepared for that. Ah, that farthest coast…