Friday, January 7, 2011

Writing Resolutely

I like plants, though I cannot claim a green thumb. The poor hibiscus in my bathroom needs re-potting badly, but it struggles along from year to year despite me. It delights me on a regular basis by shaping one of its beautiful flowers in slow motion, the bud swelling day by slow day until one morning I get up and lo! There it is, this glorious thing nodding over the bathtub. It doesn't matter that it lasts less than a day. The result is wondrous.

My newest novel project is reminding me more and more of that hibiscus. It's proceeding at snail's pace, swelling slowly word by slow word after a slam-bang start in November. It's a bit frustrating but I am slogging ahead, albeit in unaccustomed fashion. I am used to banging out multiple thousands of words a day. Of late, I'm grateful for a thousand. But a thousand really good words.

Like the hibiscus, I'm letting this thing develop slowly, tossing to the winds my usual admonition to just get the dang thing on paper and polish it later. It doesn't want to come out that way. For one thing, it's far different from anything I've attempted before, which hopefully is good, an exercise in pushing myself as a writer. For another, it wants to be perfect when it arrives, and who am I to argue? I think that somewhere deep down, this story knows what it wants to be even though I am not entirely sure yet.

So . . . the keyword for me this new year is resolute, not resolution. Day by day, sentence by sentence, I am resolutely sticking to the plan to get this thing done not by forcing it, but by letting it develop in its own time. Forget the internal deadlines and quash the progress anxieties. With resolution, it will get done.

I will embrace the journey, and hope for a flower at the end.

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