I came home from a three-day writer’s workshop a couple of weeks ago with a fresh idea: if I write the story of my childhood without any intention of publishing it, perhaps I’d talk about it less and write more.
A couple of weeks later, a one-day workshop conducted by the same instructor (Jill Swenson of Swenson Book Development), convinced me that this was the path I’d need to take if I were ever to make any progress.
I’d written hundreds of pages and thousands of words about what went on inside the walls of my childhood home. But I’d never been brave enough to put much on paper. I generated words, sentences, and whole paragraphs in my head. But I didn’t write them down. Could someone be hurt? Possibly. Could I be considered disloyal? Probably.
Then a friend gave me an article from the New York Times by William Novak: “Writing Books Very Few Will Read.”
“Private books don’t demand complete structural consistency,” Novak says, thus freeing me from an editor’s need to see a polished story arc.
So why not just keep a diary or a journal, you ask. Good question — except that something about the journal format doesn’t work for me, probably because journaling reflects a spur-of-the-moment, unedited thought process. I’m after something more
But most important is the freedom I gain with the knowledge that no one will be hurt nor will I be considered disloyal.
And who knows? Perhaps after the potential for hurt feelings is no longer be part of my writer’s block (after all, people do die), and perhaps if I do a good enough job (after all, there’s always the potential for improvement), I’ll look for an agent.
For now, it’s enough that I’m writing again.