Monday, November 7, 2011


Here's the bad system that I've fallen into regarding my writing.

I'll get an idea for a new book. I'll make some progress on this idea. Recently, I even got a contract for the idea. But then I'll turn against the idea. The idea seems so hopeless! So bad! So flawed from the get-go! Sometimes I have some smidgen of justification for turning against the idea: a passing expression of doubt on the part of an editor, an evening of tougher-than-usual critique from my writing group (no, from ONE PERSON in my writing group). I decide that I can't write this book. As my friend Ina says, "Just because you've begun a mistake, you're under no obligation to continue on in it." In the case of the recent book under contract, I even entertained the idea of canceling the contract and returning the advance. In the case of recent gropings toward a book series, I just put the idea away in my forget-about-it file.

But this is not a good system, at least for me. It really isn't. Here is what a good system would be.

Just keep on writing.

That's the system.

For the book under contract, I ended up doing this, and by page 50 I was in love with the book, and by page 150 I thought it might possibly be the best book I'd ever written.

So now for this new possible series idea, this morning I took it out of the forget-about-it file and read over what I have so far and discovered that it is not in fact bad. It is in fact good! Not great. But good. Flawed. But not irredeemably flawed.

And in any case, guess what, I don't have any other ideas right now that are any better. And I'm miserable when I'm not writing ("The Dread"). So I might as well write this as write nothing. And here's my prediction: I bet I'm going to be very glad that I did. So for now I'm just going to keep on truckin'.

1 comment:

  1. Keep on truckin',Claudia! Delighted that you love the new w-i-p.