Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scorched heart writing

My favorite quote about writing is from John Irving. I've mentioned it before, and it basically says if you don't feel that you are about to humiliate yourself while writing, if you don't feel yourself losing control, than what you're doing isn't very vital. If you don't have doubts or fears or panic, you aren't writing hard enough.

Bless you, John Irving.

It's a hard thing to grapple with, but today I was in that place all morning, working on my new novel, which right now is called The Missing Ones. Sick with fear. Nauseous. Unable to push forward. I kept looking at the books in my office and thinking I could never write anything that brilliant. I had just finished a friends arc which had knocked me out and had me reeling. I kept at it all morning. I kept pushing into the story, trying not to hear all the voices yammering at me: you can't do this. you aren't good enough. the story is dull, stupid and meaningless and so are you. It wasn't until the afternoon that the sentences began to breathe, that they took on some life and I finally felt that exhilaration of writing.

But don't get me wrong. I'm still in the middle of a quagmire of mud and emotion and rocky plot points. I could drown at any time. But the only way to go is forward.


Jeff Lyons said...


No wonder everybody wants to write a novel. It's so easy.

Clea Simon said...

Caroline, you are inspiring!