My father was also a great story teller. My guess is that I ‘get that honest’ as family members say. For some years now I have kidded myself about writing a novel. I even asked my husband not long ago, “Do you still tell people I am writing a novel?” He looked at me with a gentle smile and said, “I used to.” Oh, dear … really?
This past weekend I attend the Emerald City Writers’ Conference in Bellevue, WA, and came home with a request for a partial. Since this novel remains as yet unfinished, the request is for only a partial – in fact, only 10 pages. In the past at various conferences I’ve received requests for 25 pgs., or 50, or the first three chapters, and once for a full manuscript. I sent some in, and for others I never responded. I know now the reason is that it just wasn’t ready.
But today, with a request for 10 pages after it’s finished has stunned me into writing with the voice I love, the sentimental and nostalgic one I use when writing this blog, the one that fills me with purpose and I have no earthly reason why. It’s this voice, the one I have not been using for my novel. The thought of narrowing down only 10 pgs. (obviously the first ten) shocks me as I sit down to pound them out, or print off the first 10 of the hundreds already written in this novel I claim is about 60% done. It isn’t. Now I know that. And I know that there are probably not 10 pages in the whole novel that I’d send off.
So the struggle begins. To write again. With Purpose. And with my true voice. What a chore. I wake up each morning with scenes playing in my head like a movie. If only I could print whole documents from my brain … if only. Then I realize that’s not going to happen, but wait ~ we did put a man on the moon, didn’t we? In a few years, how do I know this won’t happen?
With my luck, if there was this magic printer that would print documents from the scenes playing in my brain, it would also send them off into space before I intended to let them go, the way my cell phone grabs my half-finished emails and shoots them into space. I might have to start anchoring those dream scenes.
At any rate, getting this small request for only 10 pages has changed my life as a writer. It’s making me write with a clear purpose, instead of focusing on the quantity of words I want to write on a given day. Hopefully this time is the charm.