Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Spend It All

I'm alive, people of the webiverse. Summer tried to eat me whole, but I've lived to tell the tale. I've actually been super busy. I've written 73,000 on my new novel, played chauffeur to my fifteen-year-old daughter who had a lead in a play, and kept all three of my children entertained and not at each others' throats for three months. Now my kids are back in school and my youngest just entered the first grade. This means, for the first time in almost sixteen years, I'm home alone during the days. *cues party music* My children come home happier with more structure and less boredom, and in the meantime, I have several hours of undivided writing time! Within a three-day span, I wrote 9000 words. That's unheard of for me! Anyway, we'll see how it goes with this new lease on life. My husband started a new job as a full-time drama teacher, so next summer I'll have him home to help, therefore I predict an abundance of sanity--for all of us.

My new novel is going well. I usually experience lots more ups and downs while drafting, but this story, for the most part, seems to flow right out of me. That doesn't mean writing is never difficult, but I've been enjoying it much more this time around. In lieu of telling you too much about my new novel (I get all shy and private about my drafts until they're complete), I'm sharing an interesting quote from an article I just read, which definitely applies to how this novel has been unfolding. My protagonist is very unpredictable, so even though I've outlined the story, she has an extra special way of throwing in surprises. Love that about her!

So this quote is from "Write Till You Drop," The New York Times, May 28, 1989. Read the whole article, people. It's awesome!

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, 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 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 up your safe and find ashes."

What do you think about this advice? What things do you hoard as a writer, and what things do you not dare to write about, but are important to you? If you're a non-writerly type, what parts of yourself do you hoard from giving away to other people? Let's discuss!


  1. I learned this lesson when I was drafting Remake. I was saving some cool 'reveals' for later in the series and my husband said I shouldn't hold onto it. To use it now in this book. And I'm so glad I did.

  2. I love this advice. I think I worry sometimes that my current idea will be my only good idea--even though experience has taught me that my best ideas come in layers, over time.

  3. I'm so happy for you that you've been able to get so much done!! That's amazing. (And I'm slightly jealous...ha!) A very interesting and great quote.

  4. Gosh, I love Annie Dillard so much. Thanks for the link to that article. And, yeah, letting go ... I'm finally realizing something truly important now that I've let go of some pretty big things in my life.