Tuesday, November 17, 2009

no idea what I am doing

As I do this National Novel Writing Month thing, I must remember two things my mother wrote:

1) One of the last things my mother wrote – in May 2007, just over a month before she died – was for a discussion panel on creativity at the university where she taught creative writing for more than 10 years. She wrote, “Writers don’t really know what to do or how to do it. They are uncertain.” My husband said, “Come on, some writers must be confident,” assuming my mother was not confident. But I think uncertainty is not the opposite of confidence.

2) I found a list in my mother's handwriting, a list of events from a very bad year (1983-1984). A tiny piece on that list jumped out: "I feel useless, stupid, not a writer."

These two bits go together. I must remember both as I write: as I think I am getting nowhere; as I complain that I can't write dialogue and that I don't have a plot. I have no idea what I am doing. And that is okay and, maybe, even exactly right.

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