On Saturday, I attended my first in-person NaNoWriMo write in. It was at the library and was pretty hilarious because there were four staff members (one librarian, one teen volunteer, and two NaNoWriMo reps) and me, the only participant. A half hour later, thank goodness, another participant showed up. But I got a lot of great advice and laughs from the reps and librarians.
And we did a word-war, which helped me move forward in my story.
One of the things they gave me was a little booklet of advice. It has some writing activities and whatnot as well, which has been fun to look through.
My favorite thing from them so far (besides, you know, M&Ms) was the quote from Ira Glass. It's something that I had never read before, but rang true to every bone in my writer body.
And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take a while. It's normal to take a while. you've just gotta fight your way through."
I read this quote and I thought, Gosh! That explains my writing process in a nut shell! It also explains why after I read a chunk of my draft to Hubby and he says it's good that I have this feeling of "thanks... but..." I always thought it was because I was too critical of myself, which I suppose (in a way is still true) but it's because I have, as Ira Glass says, "good taste." I have ambitions for my writing, and it's just not there, yet.
I have to say it's getting closer. But it's not there, yet. Ann Lamott explains that every good piece of writing went through a "shitty" draft, but she never explained why. This quote/thought explains why.
We're closing the gap.
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down... and bleed."
"Mongkok Street, Hong Kong"