The End of the Beginning

When I started this blog, back in June 2008,  I was just starting to write The Jane Austen Project, and I imagined that this would turn into a sort of diary of a novel.  Obviously, that did not happen. To the extent that it became anything,  it became a record of what I was reading when I was slacking off  from writing, which was much more often than would have been ideal.

Is a journal of a novel’s composition by its very nature an impractical idea, or did I just not succeed in making it work? One problem is that blogging and writing a novel cannot be done at the same time, and the hours are finite when you also have a full-time job and a needy dog. When I was not composing,  I was anxious, or reading, or procrastinating, or all of those things.  When I was blogging, I was not composing. When I was composing, it seemed foolish  to stop and blog about it.

When is the moment one attains clarity about what one is doing? If I could use only one metaphor about writing a novel, it would be the one about wandering through a dark forest. There is  forward progress (one hopes) but there is a decided lack of perspective.

Today,  winter turning to spring, at least at Latitude North 40.7111,  I am finally near the end of my draft, desperately trying to finish the last missing bits, write a new top (as we say in the newspaper business) and generally wrestle the unwieldy monsterliness of it into shape in time to start a writing workshop on March 21. I finally have some perspective. A little.  Maybe.

A thing I have learned: in  the end, it is not  any harder to just write than to find reasons not to. Especially  when writing big and loose and not fearing to be very stupid bad.


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