Sunday, June 03, 2012

The True Secret of Writing

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." ~ Ernest Hemingway

Wouldn't it be nice to discover the actual, honest to goodness, true secret of writing? Natalie Goldberg even teaches a workshop by that title. I attended it and while I found it extremely helpful, it wasn't a total fix. I'm not sure there is a secret. See, writing is a moving target. Each time I come up with a plan, it works for a while then stops. Today's solution is tomorrow's waste of time.

Right now, it's working if I focus on quantity, not quality. I gave the book about my father and I (working title MEMORIAL) to a literary consultant. She gave it back covered in questions. Three hundred and nine questions to be precise. If I thought about all 309 questions at once, I would scream. Instead, I'm allowing myself to work one question at a time. If I finish three questions in a session, that's huge. And I don't worry about the quality of what I'm writing. It's all about quantity. For now, this is working. When it stops working or when I finish question 309, I'll come up with another strategy.

What's working for you right now? I'd love to hear about it.