I’ve written often about Valerie Geary around here, my critique partner I met when we both started blogging in 2009. We’ve seen each other through a number of manuscripts, a million emails about the writing life, and one glorious writing retreat that included mid-morning runs, lots of good conversation, and a bottle of wine I received when May B. sold (thanks, Helen Theriot!).
I don’t know how I’d keep chugging away without friends who understand this weird and wonderful process, who encourage me when I need it and let me do the same.
Here’s a recent exchange:
me: I’m tinkering with the new book. Very slowly. Long hand and then some typing. Two and a half hours gave me something like 200 words.
Val: Keep tinkering, friend. No rush, no urgency. Breathe, find small moments to create. These first few steps are so small and feel like they take us nowhere, but they are important to building a book. We’ll take bigger steps later on down the road. For now…play.
Joanne Fritz says
What a wise friend you have in Valerie! Good critique partners are golden.
Breathing (and letting your work breathe) is important, of course, but I love the idea of play while drafting.
Play has been such a helpful way for me to think about writing. So much more freeing than the word “write” which, for me, implies I know what I’m doing.
Joanne Fritz says
Oh, I’m sure you know what you’re doing, Caroline, but it’s interesting to me (i.e. someone with no book contracts yet) that you feel that way. Because I feel that way all the time!
I talked to my editor earlier today and mentioned this very thing. I don’t feel like I really know what I’m doing until the eleventh hour. It’s a little scary sometimes!
She laughed and said that must be my process.
I love what your friend said! I needed to hear that today.
Let’s tinker on ?
Yes. Tinker away!
Augusta Scattergood says
200 words in 2 hours? That sounds about right.
Very wise words from your friend. You can’t build a book too quickly if you don’t want it to crumble!