Monday, March 16, 2009

The best part...

...about being a writer...

... is that sometimes you are stuck. You can't write a word. You have no words to write. You hate the novel and are absolutely sure it hates you back, possibly along with your agent, your editor, your family, and everyone you have ever met. You whine. You set your timer and you make yourself write, but it is like pulling teeth out of a cranky crocodile and what comes out is drivel. You blog a lot. You become convinced that your past successes were blips, that you will never again write or say anything worth repeating, let alone publishing. You wallow in self-hating wordlessness.

And then someone says something, one little thing, and you hit yourself in the forehead and think, "Of course. Of course that is what has to happen." You realize that the reason you were having such a hard time is not, in fact, because you suck, but because the story needed fixed and before it was fixed it could not be written. You have this amazing revelation of exactly what you need to do and you don't even have to set your timer because when it goes off, you knock it across the room with your left hand so your right hand can keep writing.

I asked Tinkerbell. Yeah, I asked a first grader. I was talking about it with Thor, who was looking around for something heavy and blunt with which to hit himself very sympathetic, and Tink asked me what we were talking about. So I told her: this is what's happened so far in my story and I'm having a hard time writing the rest. And she said, "He reads the note," which is EXACTLY what the character would do, but which I had missed entirely. "Of course," I said. And then I re-plotted the rest of the book and wrote two chapters this morning.

I should add that Tinkerbell went on to plot the rest of the novel in her head, including well set-up clues and a touching emotional ending. Then she said, "Is yours going to be that good?" and I was forced to admit that, no, it probably wasn't, but that I thought I'd write it anyway.

12 comments:

Candace Ryan said...

Forget about a lucky pen, you've got yourself a lucky Tinkerbell. (:

Colorado Writer said...

Sometimes I'd rather clean up puppy pee with the big carpet machine than write.

It's really amazing that I have written anything at all.

Sara said...

I love it. I hope Tinkerbell keeps that level of self-assurance forever, too.

Anonymous said...

Tinkerbell might be more creative than the rest of us.

J. Thorp said...

kids make it all seem so easy -- baseball to book-writing ...

Marina said...

That is so cool, Jacqui! Can I borrow Tink? Please??

Jacqui said...

Candace, it's true.

CW, it's the law of diminishing nuisances, I think.

Sara, me too. It breaks my heart to know someday she'll be knocked down at all.

Anonymous, that's a fact.

Thorp, don't they? Monkey bars too.

Marina, yes. She will work for things that are sparkly. Actually, that gives me an idea...

Kelly said...

Aww, Tink is a sweetie, and a smart sweetie at that!

Tabitha said...

Aren't kids fantastic? Of course, I say this because I had a great time with my oldest son today in this beautiful weather we're having. I don't say this on the days both of them melt down, throwing themselves at anything and everything and nearly bringing the house down in the process. But hey, you gotta have the bad to appreciate the good. And there's plenty of good. :)

Jacqui said...

Tabitha, ain't it the truth!

Amber Lough said...

I love little Tinkerbell.

Sharon Blankenship said...

Jacqui,
If I got help from one of my preschoolers, it would probably rock. They are so much freer than I am. I love going in to see their open, eager faces, just waiting to discover something in their day. Wish I could bottle that.
Tink still has it. Hope she holds it dear.
Sharon