I was inspired to post, in great part, to the new bloggers I hope to meet (and follow and befriend!) from the Flock Together Tuesday Blog Hop. For those of you blog hoppers who love to write, you may glean something important here. That's a part of my mission - to share my love with words and the world here on the blog. Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Those of you who read me with regularity will be shocked that today I am featuring the wisdom of a male writer. I just want to illustrate how full of surprises I can be. Never guess you know the entirety of someone because chances are you don't know as much as you think you do.
Another confession: I don’t consider myself a fiction writer.
I consider myself primarily a memoir writer, writing teacher, performance poet, poet who occasionally writes a play or messes around with flash fiction.
I signed up for JuNoWriMo primarily because I found myself feeling envy for all the novelists during last November’s NaNoWriMo. They made it seem like so much fun I simply had to participate… in any month that wasn’t November since I have a different creative challenge I take then.
Somehow I “met” the folks at JuNoWriMo and that was that. I had to try.
Even though I am primarily a creative nonfiction writer, a teacher, a poet, I wanted to try this novel thing and besides, I write fast. Knocking out 1667 words is no big deal for me at all, so I thought.
I even did some plotting before June began. Sure, my beginnings of a novel – Reality: Love it or… now feels more like playing an improve game than following a script, I am enjoying the process.
I also feel like I need to do more plotting, something I haven’t done in years since I wrote research papers with a passion burning in my gut and in my fingers. I was the most crazed researcher, notecarder, outliner, source gatherer I knew.
Perhaps my desire for more plotting comes from this past love.
For now, it feels much more like E.L. Doctorow says, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
The only thing is I like to have my GPS tell me what is coming up and what stuff I can find at the nearest exit. I don’t want to make the whole trip by the foggy end of my headlights!
What does E.L. Doctorow know, anyway?
Admittedly, he is considered one of the most accomplished American novelists of the second half of the 20th Century, often considered in an elite company with Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow, John Updike, Philip Roth and only a few others. Fine, I will give him that.
Yes, yes, yes, he has won many awards for his writing including National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, National Book Critics Circle, for Ragtime , 1975; award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1976; National Book Award, National Book Foundation, for World's Fair , 1986; Edith Wharton Citation of Merit, New York State Writers Institute, 1989–91; William Dean Howells Medal, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, for Billy Bathgate , 1990; National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, National Book Critics Circle, for Billy Bathgate , 1990; PEN/Faulkner Award for best novel, The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, for Billy Bathgate , 1990; National Humanities Medal, 1998; PEN/Faulkner Award for best novel, The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, for The March , 2006; National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, National Book Critics Circle, for The March , 2006.
I recognize the words of David Segal in the Washington Post "Doctorow now occupies one of the narrowest subsets in American letters, the million-selling author who is taken seriously."
Am I supposed to believe he actually wrote any books by the dim headlights of a jalopy into the foggy “what happens next” grey of the morning?
What else can I do but believe it?
I need to continue to write with as much plotting as possible but not completely dependent upon it, that is if I want to finish this challenge on time. With 3,000 words magically appearing on the page yesterday, it looks more and more likely I will be able to conquer it after all.
© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott has been a Life & Creativity Coach, Writer, Facilitator and Teleclass Leader since 1999. She is also an award winning Actor, Director, Artist and Mother Extraordinaire. She was twice the StoryTelling Slam champion in Bakersfield. She facilitates Virtual Writing Camp & will be hosting the final session of the 2011/12 season next week. Register before it is too late: Writing the Journey: Memoir, Life Writing & Travel Writing Intensive.
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