“I don't take much notice of critics, except when they praise me extravagantly.”
Philip Pullman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Too Euphoric? Just Add BLIZZARD
Fri 2010-03-19 13:56:59 (in context)
  • 2,832 words (if poetry, lines) long

No, that would not be the Dairy Queen ice cream treat. That would be the sort of all-day blizzard that dumps a foot of snow on Boulder and turns any day into a "why bother?" sort of day.

I was feeling fairly chipper, otherwise. More than chipper, in fact. Yesterday, I finally sat down with my much-marked-up copy of "First Breath" and completed work on a thorough revision. The result was 150 words longer, one character shorter, a bit more focused in, and hopefully less confusing at the end. The other result was me tripping along in a euphoric haze of "See? See? I'm a writer! I did writerly things, like writing!"

That evening I relaxed with a long-overdue reread of Margaret Mahy's The Tricksters. Its teenage protagonist is a secret writer, and the story she's writing becomes the vessel for a ghost to embody itself. And... huh. I only realized the overlap between that and "First Breath" just now. Ghost-like creatures needing an external vessel to embody themselves in, I mean. Neat. But last night, what kept catching my attention was the way Mahy's treatment of the magic inherent in the creative act of writing made me even more happy with having seriously written that morning.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when you write a first draft, you're not stuck with it. You can go back and change it, make it better, make the story grow closer to being the reason you wrote it in the first place. I know this; you know this. Anyone who thinks half a moment knows this. But for me sometimes it takes actually engaging in a serious rewrite to know it, know in the bones and blood and gut and in the happy place. It's the difference between knowing you're capable of something, and then actually doing that something and reveling viscerally in your own capability. (This would be why writing is like rock climbing.)

So: Rawr! I rock! But there's nothing like a morning-after full of so much snow and wind that we can't even take out the trash to remind me not to get carried away in my euphoria. "Yes, very good. You rocked yesterday. But it's today now. Write the next thing."