I’m nearing the end of my novel. This is exciting stuff, even if a wee bit terrifying.
As I approach the final stages of my story, I’m finding myself writing very, very slowly. Interesting, since I am convinced that the my mission for the end is to drive the pace faster and faster. To throw it all into the pot at once, stir vigorously, and see what bubbles forth.
So here I am, pushing that cart as fast as I can make it go, and the words are flowing out of me like motor oil on a cold Wisconsin night (Is it cold out there? I hadn’t noticed.).
Courage, dear heart.
All is well.
You know what? This whole ending thing is an emotional tap-out. It’s exhausting. I realized last week that I have to write it this slowly. Any quicker and it will bleed me dry. Any quicker and it will be dry. I’m not failing. I’m not even falling short. I am doing what is best for my writing, and what is best for my soul. Funny how the two go hand in hand.
So I have come to accept that the only way I will make it through to a complete (albeit in desperate need of editing and a small army of revisions) manuscript, is to trudge along at whatever pace the emotions decide to turn themselves into words.. There is just no rushing that. Not now. Not at the end.
What I didn’t expect in this discovery, is that it seems I need to go even slower than I am capable of – a downright deliberate crawl – to really keep things moving. If I push one day’s words to their maximum threshold, I am burnt out for the next day. There is nothing there. I am spent. I am better off stopping when I’m really on a roll, jotting down an ineloquent paragraph about where I think I’m heading next, or how I think I’ll be closing this scene, and closing the computer. Then, it seems, the next day, I am still in the flow and ready to go. Which is much better than lodged six feet deep in the snowbank of writer’s block.
So my haste to get to the end has been replaced by a tremendously guarded, forcefully relaxed meandering. A measured out exploration. An exhausting, demanding, gloriously intentional slowness. It’s kind of nice.
My tongue wags at the fleet feet of the daily word quota. Eat my carefully carved groove, ya’ filthy animal.
This morning my weekly dose of geeky philosophical bookworm arrived from Brain Pickings, and Ernest Hemingway was there to confirm what I had learned. Still, nice to have the confirmation, especially from the likes of him:
The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day.
~ Ernest Hemingway
Go write, but not too much…