Writing Spurt

I’ve just finished my second book by Tasha Alexander (her first) and after I did, I read her author’s not on writing the book.

It starts:

One day, while I was engrossed in Dorothy L. Sayers’s wonderful Gaudy Night, a sentence leapt off the page at me:

If you are once sure what you do want, you find that everything else goes down before it like grass under a roller — (all other interests, your own and other people’s)


Oo, I thought. Good quote. I like it. I think I know that I want to write. I could use that quote. Then I read on.

At the time, my son was three-and-a-half years old nad had reached the age where he stopped napping. I had to take advantage of every free moment I had…

I like her more and more, she’s proving it can be done. But now comes the kicker.

…and in bursts of fifteen minutes, a half an hour, whatever time I could steal— I spent the next two months writing the first draft…

TWO MONTHS?! It only took her two months to write her first draft? I started writing my thing (and then left it) last spring or was it the spring before, I don’t remember. I have a friend who has been writing the same novel since he left his MFA program about 12 years ago. Two months?!

So I’m knuckling down. Imagine actually finishing something novel-lengthed, at least a first draft. Imagine not having the guilt of the unfinished story hanging over you.

I do get caught up in whether or not my writing is any good and I get tempted to stop. But then I remind myself of Chris Baty’s dictum that a quick and dirty first draft is the only way to go.

So I wrote about 1000 words today, in fits and starts, in between doing other things.

It helped that music features largely in the story, and I was listening to some music last night that inspired me. It also didn’t hurt that K was at home today and I kept thinking “I could do with writing a bestseller and letting him retire early” (because, having worked on the fringes of the publishing industry, I know how likely that is. But hey…)

I had fun.

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