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I am somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 finished with the first draft of a novel. It’s been both daunting and exhilarating in equal measure and I vacillate between being utterly impatient with the project (writing a book takes a LONG time — this is a far cry from blogging, that’s for sure) and completely delighted in the process.
I mentioned earlier that I feel like I’m so, so late to the writing party, having only started in earnest a couple years ago and I’ve been reading and listening to everything I can get my hands on. It’s not so much that I’m learning to write in some new way but that I’m finding words given to the process I’m already experiencing first hand and finding encouragement and solidarity there.
I read The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (thanks, Pal!) earlier this year and I’ve returned to it this week. This is a section that I found particularly interesting with regard to writing and the last two lines are applicable to all of life, I think.
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.
These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive.
Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.
You open your safe and find ashes.”