Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Admitting Failure and Starting Anew

Thank God.....I had an epiphany today about my ongoing writers' block on the book I'm writing.

I've been trying to write this lovely true-story collection about people whose lives are touched and even transformed by their local library. The reason I'm writing it is because too many life-in-the-fast-laners...which is most of us today.....rarely visit a public library. We're too busy, we buy what we need at Amazon, whatever the reason. Since we have no pressing need to visit the library and know few others who do, we instinctively believe that local public libraries are antiquated, slightly musty institutions for young children and idle seniors. Because of this pervasive attitude, funding for libraries has been radically reduced in recent years, resulting in cuts in hours, staff and resources.

That, of course, is far from true. Free public libraries are the foundations of democracy (free access to info), education (on anything, for everyone) and creativity (inspiration and resources).

I'm trying to recount true tales in lovely prose and soothing words that draw the reader irresistibly into each storyline. But...that's not my writing voice. I rarely write in "pretty" or "soothing."

I write with energy and insight, and I'm talented at cutting through the c**p, rather like a hot knife through butter. When I'm true to my inner voice, creativity and clever prose flows through me at an amazing pace (It comes from God, not me. It flows through me, not from me.) It's the way I write...it's the way I live life, too. It's an unfortunate family trait. (You should meet my brother. I'm the very soul of patience and tact compared to Jeff.)

So I'm frustrated and moving at a snail's pace with this book. It hangs over my head like a pregnant cloud. I feel pressured to meet my self-imposed deadlines. What I've written is good, by professional standards.....but it's very little. At this rate, it might take the rest of my natural life. And it bores me; I wouldn't read it.

So I guess I'll throw out what I have written, and start all over.

There....I said it. I admitted a false start. Black and white decision. I can do it...admit failure, throw out the old, start anew.

Why is this so hard?


purple_kangaroo said...

Nothing wrong with writing in your own natural style, or with stretching your comfort zone and skills to try something less familiar. I hope you find the right voice for it soon.

Anonymous said...

I really like your writing style and the premise of your book in progress. It sounds like you're the kind of writer who has to produce a perfect, polished paragraph before moving on to the next, and then the next, etc. Whereas I believe in just getting something written down--anything, no matter how lousy--and then going back and rewriting. Draft after draft, it's all in the rewriting. I just have to keep remind myself of this when I'm writing that horrible, boring, inane, unpublishable early draft. Anyway, I was taken with some of your entires and felt moved to leave a comment. Good luck. -- randy at randypowell dot com

Deborah White said...

Thank you thank you thank you, both of you!

I truly appreciate your wise words and your support! You have both been helpful.