Things I’m noticing while I write, list #2

Here’s the second in my series of lists of things I’m noticing as I work on my novel.

1) It’s fun to write with friends. This morning, some members of Jenna Avery’s Just Do the Writing Accountability Circle sprinted with me. We checked in with each other before and after the sprint. Writing can feel so solitary. And sometimes that solitude feels good. But it’s also nice to know there are others out there doing it too, struggling with the same stuff I am.

2) It’s okay to go back. Although I’ve been really encouraging myself in this draft to move forward, forward, forward (since I have a tendency to go back and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite, and therefore not to finish my drafts), something kept nagging at me and I knew I’d taken a wrong turn. The story didn’t feel as alive as I knew it could, because two chapters earlier I’d gone left instead of right. So I went back, and made that right turn. And that right turn, was, well, the right one. My story felt alive again, and it just starting writing itself (righting itself?). When a story writes itself, fun things happen. (Like, who knew there was a ghost living in my main character’s apartment? The ghost wouldn’t have revealed itself if I hadn’t gone back and course-corrected.)

And by the way, you can do this in life too. You can always course-correct, no matter how far off the path you’ve wandered. And sometimes, wandering off the path becomes your new path.

3) I do better when I write earlier in the day. In keeping with my last post, about trusting my own process, I’ve noticed that there’s a world of difference for me when I write earlier. Maybe it’s because, often, writing is the most difficult thing I have on my plate, and when I get it done earlier, I know I can handle anything else that comes my way that day.

4) When I’m writing what I know I must write — when it’s coming through me and I’m aware that I’m not really the author, I’m just the conduit — I’m not concerned with how good it is.  This doesn’t mean I won’t look at it with editor’s eyes later on in the process and see how it might be improved. It’s just that there’s a huge difference between “I want to write something terrific” and “This writing was just waiting to be born. And now it’s here.” (Am I making the writing, or am I allowing the writing?)

And by the way, the more I make it about me, the more blocked and stuck I get.

What are you noticing while you write? I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.

2 thoughts on “Things I’m noticing while I write, list #2

  1. Jill, I sure do enjoy reading your blogs.

    As you know, I’m not a writer. My writing is generally limited to composing emails, posts on message boards, and some business letters. Sometimes I do some journalling.

    I’ve been thinking about what you’ve written here. My mind jumped to something that is not quite on topic, but I thought I’d share my thought with you anyhow.

    There is something that I’ve noticed about my own process of writing.

    After the fact (sometimes a long time after) I will come across a post that I had written, or look back at something I’ve expressed in a notebook. And, I’ll have one of those lightbulb moments.

    Sometimes I’ll be a little surprised at what I’ve written. (Who wrote that? I wrote that??) I find it interesting to read what I had thought or felt in that moment. Something that was true for me at that particular point in time.

    There are times when I’ll feel so clear on whatever topic it is after I read my own post on whatever message board. There are other times when I’ll read my words, and think … hmmm …. interesting that I was in that place. Do I still think or feel that way? What is my position in this moment?

    The process of expressing through the written word is just so powerful. Even if the process is only words on a message board. So, for me, there are times that I notice things when I go back much later to review what I’ve written.

    So, thanks again for the food for thought (and I apologize for my off topic comments). Instead of writing about the process of writing, I’m pondering something that is beside the topic. Oh well, I hope you don’t mind as I’m going to hit that little button anyway and send this off to you. lol


    • Marie, I don’t think your comments are off-topic at all! They are things you have noticed about your writing process — totally on topic! I think you’ve hit on one of the gifts of expressing ourselves in writing: those lightbulb moments where we read what we’ve written and we get really clear: wow! I wrote that? Yes, I did. It’s like the act of writing it allows us to detach a bit from our own minds and develop perspective. I really think that whatever way we choose to write, it’s not only totally valid but so vital to understanding ourselves better.

      Thanks so much for your comment — as always, I really value your insights!


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