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April 30th, 2010

Words to Write By

frostokovich has posted an interesting and (I think) true post about writing on The Liar's Club.  The whole post is worth reading, but it was the final paragraph that made me shout, "AMEN"!!!

So, in a sense, I kind of wish someone had said to me what Conroy said to Cronin. Because what that really says is, “Embrace the process. Love the writing itself for itself. If you publish it, well that’s good, too. But don’t make that your goal. Make telling the best story in the world your goal–the best you know how to write. And from that learn how to write the next one better. And so on, until you write something so good you can’t believe it.” Maybe your first story will be golden. Maybe not. Don’t worry about that so much that you forget this is a craft to which you’re choosing to apprentice yourself, because you love it. It’s easy to forget that while you’re chasing the big dollar sign. Now and then, remember to remind yourself why you write.

It's not only good advice before your career gets started.  It's good advice early-career, mid-career, and late-career, too--especially in today's cut-throat and whimsical (in a bad way) publishing climate.  Do it because you love it.  Yeah.

Just to keep you all up-to-date, I've got Chapters 9-11 pretty well settled, with Chapter 12 only needing a transition or two and a continuity run-through before I head into heavy construction on Chapters 13-16.  That would be 14 out of 22 chapters ready for their final polish and continuity-run, which is about 2/3 of the novel revised, including the last 2 chapters.  I also need to finish laying out the time-line ("present" and "past"), make up a list of dramatis personae, and find a good reference on Louisiana dialects, so I can get the grammar consistent. 

Do you know how strange it is, when your mother's been gone since 1974, to catch sight of a calendar with "Phone call from Mama" written on it in red?  Gave me quite a start, it did.

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