Saturday, February 23, 2013

Words, words, words

Writing fascinates me. I love shaping stories and dreaming up new worlds; spreading my word-net wide and trying to capture my dreams on a page. Sometimes it's so hard! I remember reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, where the main character spends a whole novel trying to capture a lighthouse in paint. Transfering a real-life experience to an artistic medium isn't what I'd call an easy prospect. I've read about so many authors who agonized over every single syllable of their writing, and I'm not sure I'm much different.

My dream is to be a real author. I call myself a writer because I write, but what does it take to be an author? My goal is to tell a good story -- hopefully a lot more than one! And every good story teaches something about human nature. It also uses language in a way that helps people understand. No wasted words. No confusion. Just a plain, good, understandable, enjoyable story. (Was that too many adjectives?)  I'm not always sure what to say, which words to choose -- but I carry on. I am so tempted to go back and delete what I've just written; I've given in to that temptation several times writing this post, in fact. I have difficulty writing just a rough draft and putting the editing off till later. I write a few sentences, then re-read what I wrote, fix a few things, and keep going. It's like knitting. (Madame Defarge comes to mind, which reminds me of They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie.) I have to push myself to keep writing. It's tempting to just stop. I wonder if I'll ever get published and if anyone will read my stories if I do. I like to think so. And I know that if I just give up, I'll never get anywhere.

My writing process is interesting, at least for me. I'm not sure how it works all the time. Also, I tend towards perfectionism, so it's hard for me to write just a draft without editing as I go. I can't finish a sentence if there's a misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe. So I type a bit, then go back and fix things, trying to say something useful as I go.  My current writing project is a novel, which I recently started revising severely. It was like pulling out several rows of stitching in a knitting project to correct a few small errors made at the beginning. I couldn't go on until I'd fixed some things, and I think my finished book will be much better for it. Life is like a lot of things, but I think my life is a lot like my writing process. I have to figure it out as I go, and trust that everything will work out in the end and that it will be worth my time to keep going.

I love words. They have such power to inspire, to lift, or to tear down. My goal is to craft words together into something new and wonderful, something that will reflect my thoughts and dreams and help other people want to make their dreams into reality. (Does that sounds too melodramatic? I'm not sure, so I guess I'll leave it as is. It seems to say what I'm trying to say, mostly.) Life is good. It's worth writing about and remembering; I want the words I write to be worth the ink (or pixels) they're made of.

Here's a handy link to find out how to do a continental knit stitch. This is how I knit. It's fun. Mostly I make scarves, though unlike Madame Defarge I've never knit a secret message...