September 28, 2023

Progress Is Progress

I tend to go months without posting anything here about my writing. That probably isn't news to the regular readers of this blog, and to those regular readers: I appreciate your attention to my occasional musings! I maintain the blog partly as a record for myself, but I don't think I'd keep doing it if nobody was reading.

A big reason for the long gap between updates is that I always feel like there are only so many ways to say I'm still doing essentially the same thing as last time I posted. Except whenever I finally start an update and look back at the previous months-ago post, I discover I've actually made more progress than I realized.

For example, back in June I was sticking notes onto poster boards to figure out the big picture of the plot, and this month I'm filling in the rows and columns of a table to figure out the big picture, so that's completely different! Ha, no, of course it's different. Probably. No, really, I did in fact read that post and think, "Wow, that was ages ago, I've done so much since then."

So the record-for-myself aspect of the blog is working, but sharing how I've progressed is trickier. A lot of what I've done lately is intently brainstorm and make decisions about one aspect of the story for a week or two, then shift abruptly to something else. It's not very linear, and I'm not always sure I'm moving forward, but I have to keep trusting that it's all building up to something.

One concrete thing I did last week was to reread the previous draft (or draft-ish pile of text). I hadn't looked at the whole thing in many months, and I've had many new ideas about the story since then. It was useful to revisit the old ideas with all the context around them, and I'm starting to get a better sense of how to reassemble the pieces that are working.

So, yeah, I'm still figuring out how to write a real version of this novel, and I'll probably be doing that for a while, but I've also made a lot of progress.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ I met my friend Christopher Gronlund through his writing blog, The Juggling Writer, which he's been keeping for 14 years. Chris posted about how he's also blogging far less frequently than he once did. But in his case, the big reason is that he's busy writing and recording stories that he puts out into the world regularly through his fiction podcast, Not About Lumberjacks. I am in awe of the ever-expanding scale of this project, and I've so enjoyed witnessing Chris's writing and audio progress over the years.


Christopher Gronlund said...

Awwwww...thanks for the kind words! It's the day of the annual [short] writing retreat, and with the shift to them falling in autumn, it's also a good time for Not About Lumberjacks planning! (I mention "short" 'cause I talk about the writing retreat and people think I mean a week-long thing with a bunch of writers and catered food...not two friends in a state park cabin from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.)

wintersweet said...

"intently brainstorm and make decisions" -- that is really what I need to be doing! I just miss having a table of other writers once a week or so to do a bit of the brainstorming with.

Lisa Eckstein said...

Chris: Your weekend retreat sounds as though it often packs in a week's worth of creative renewal, so I hope that's the case this year! It can be so valuable to get a bonus stretch of time outside the usual setting when all you have to think about is writing.

Lisa Eckstein said...

wintersweet: We should think about (brainstorm, I suppose) how to make that work virtually!

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