When Writing

I’m currently in my second college-run writing workshop of the summer. It’s excessive. This summer. My parents urged me to drop the workshop. My advisor asked me if it was necessary. Even the instructor of the course, when hearing my summer schedule, said, “You shouldn’t be here.”

But I’m stubborn and I need the course’s unit to graduate this spring and I signed up (and I have to follow through) and, anyway, the workshop (like all CC courses) is only three weeks, so whatever, no biggie, I’m doing it, I did it, here I am.

I thought the class would be like pulling teeth (repetitive, waste of time, a distraction from my priorities), but oddly, as I near the workshop’s end, I’m absurdly grateful I stuck with it.

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The workshop has forced me to take frequent breaks on my Big Revision (it’s actually not that big and not that official besides the fact that it’s addressing the entire manuscript rather than a few key elements and I’m questioning if it deserves being dubbed “Big Revision”). And being forced to take breaks, to step away from my wounded manuscript and produce new pages, silly little short short stories, and go on class hikes is a blessing. An arguably essential blessing. By stepping away, I’m somehow reminded of the necessity to simply keep walking, to simply keep writing. (Rawr! I’m transforming into cheese again, sorry sorry sorry, I’m an over dramatic fool–embrace it or run).

But perhaps more importantly, when I step away I’m reminded to listen

Listen to my anxieties. Listen to my excitement. Listen to my characters. Listen to my doubts. Listen to my hopes. Listen to the story and the fire’s roar and the threads that are snagged and the threads that are stitched so tight they’re lost in the weave. Listen to my fears. Listen to Hayden’s secrets and Maya’s cry and Audrey’s silence. Listen to not only what I want to say but what Audrey is desperately trying to articulate. Listen to the words on the page and allow them to be rearranged. Listen and write and then listen some more.

Writing is patience. Writing is allowing myself to stop and hear what only I can hear, and to recognize that sometimes I need to wait. Sometimes I need to merely continue what I’m doing even if it’s not totally working–even if I want to hurl my laptop from a speeding car I must keep writing and waiting until I’m ready to hear the true story struggling to make it onto the page.

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Those who know me, those who’ve been reading my random blogs since 2008, or even earlier at sayhellodear or mysticxshadows or trueluvneverdies (don’t judge, I was young and it was the early 2000s and WHATEVER I’ve already established that I’m a silly over dramatic lady), know I’ve been revising and rewriting this book (AFOT or now more accurately AE, but I’ll continue to refer to it as AFOT until someone slaps me) since I was fourteen. I wrote the first chapter of the first draft of the first version in the spring of 2005, when I was thirteen. I’ve been telling this story for nearly half my life (how the hell am I already in my twenties?). And, you know, this revision won’t be it. Won’t be the end. Most likely, at the summer’s close, I’ll finish the revision, finish this draft, let it fly, and set it aside so it can simmer and sit until I return to the pages next year. And that’s okay. The story will continue to wait for me to understand, as with every new draft, I inch closer. It waits. I wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. (For the record, I mean actively wait–not waiting by staring at the ceiling but waiting by typing typing typing). Until I get it right, until the book becomes the story it is meant to be, I’ll continue to thread and unravel and whisper into the pages and listen ever so carefully.

Am I making sense? I think I need to attempt sleeping more. Need to wake in six hours for class and work and writing. I have a bad habit of only blogging when I should be sleeping and thus 99% of what is posted here is SLEEP DEPRIVED HEATHER RAMBLING INSANITY. And really, this entry is just a total repeat of what I wrote last week. My brain is a one-lane interstate these days.

Oh well.

So, ANYWAY, thanks CC registrar for not transferring all of my community college courses, for making it so I needed to take this workshop in order to graduate when I want to graduate. Thanks for offering a workshop that requires me to step away from my manuscript a few hours every day. I may be exhausted and overworked and feeling (and totally looking) rather haggard, but it’s worth it. It’s definitely worth it.

Bedtime?

But wait, on another note, WHAT IS WITH ME AND REPETITION THESE DAYS? I’m my own personal echo.

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Echo.