The Greatest Gift You Get As A Writer… Other Writers!


Today was an all-over-the-place kind of day. I couldn’t get my shit together with the proverbial pooper-scooper, so I was flying around doing errands on a windy afternoon, trying to TCB before meeting up with my pal Chad to workshop our awesome novels-in-progress. Anyhow, finally I got to sit down with him at our local java joint, and we started parsing the verbiage.

Now, I don’t know about him, but for me, the session was electrifying. I’d been gnashing my teeth and pulling my hair over the direction of BOOK 2, which is very dear to my heart. I am determined to “get it right,” whatever that ends up meaning, but struggling to figure out how best to accomplish my goals. During the course of a couple hours, we got to hash out the central themes, what would make them stronger, what’s working and what ain’t. It was a bit scary, frankly, to find out that my suspicions were correct–this is still very much a work in progress, not perfect straight outta the gate. But it was also pretty remarkable to see how, talking it through aloud, I could come up with some character adjustments and some additions to scenes that would make everything work so much better.

It’s my favorite feeling in the world–when you go, “Ooh, ooh, I got it! How about if X does this instead of that…” and suddenly your story makes more sense. Yes, I’ll have tons of revisions to do because we took such a hard look at the story, but it’s worth it in service to the finished product–and now I’m thinking the finished product is actually not going to suck.

A little while later, a gaggle of NaNoWriMo’s descended (all of whom won, getting 50,000 words while I… well, I did not) and we started working on our novels. The gathering was crackling with cheerful banter, and a great energy settled around our communal table. It reminded me of just how fun it is to do something creative! It’s like being in kindergarten and being handed a huge lump of Play-Doh and told, “Have at it, kids!” I was so happy to be hanging out with people who have the same passion for wordplay I do, who can commiserate over crappy characters and laugh at our shitty first drafts. When you work alone so much of the time, it’s nice to be reminded you have “peeps.”

And then I arrived home and got a lovely, supportive email from a dear friend and pen pal, a wonderful writer who’s enmeshed in “the process,” with all the mushy, gloppy gut-wrenching it entails (entrails?).  It was another reminder I’m not alone, and a validation that writing is a passion, an avocation, and a fucking hard bit of work. And we’re all awesome for undertaking this crazy career.