You’ll relive your teenage years — again and again. I was one of those teens who always wanted to be older. When I was 12, I used to look at the rental ads in the back of the newspaper and freak out about how I’d ever afford my own place. Now that I was a twenty-something, it was kind of fun to go back and relive all the drama and uncertainty that comes with being afraid you won’t get into your first-choice college or the deflating rage of spotting your best friend making out with your crush… and then head out to happy hour and be grateful for my over-21 adult status.
– Anna Davies, “Confessions of a YA Ghostwriter”
I wasn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect of putting myself back into the mindset of a teenager, because those weren’t my finest years. I dealt with a lot of emotional issues then, and the idea of putting myself back into that headspace intimidated me. But this is such a nice way to look at it.
I’ve conquered those teenage years and have moved on. Now I’m an aimless twenty-something who feels totally lost and has no idea what she’s doing with her life. So ha, teenage years! It could be fun writing about you. Because now I can at least drink legally. But really, this helped me see it in a much more positive light.
The first draft of anything is shit.
– Ernest Hemingway
Okay, so I need to stop writing late at night for right now. There’s too much room for melodrama. It just isn’t productive.
Also, I need to remind myself to just keep writing at this point, keep writing and leave a mess in my wake. The first draft can be horrible, it can make no sense, it can jump between characters and places and I can even change their ages halfway through if I need to. I mean, if even Hemingway is saying a first draft can be bad, then I need to get over myself and just keep writing.
It actually feels kind of liberating, thinking about that. This draft can be terrible! Who cares? I can let my characters say and do whatever they want.
Now I just need to keep trying to remember that. Diving back into the novel now while it’s still fresh in my head.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
– William Wordsworth
The other day I was driving down the freeway, flanked by generic stucco buildings on either side of me, surrounded with billboards and advertisements and chain link fences until it was all I could breathe in, and the opening line of this poem suddenly came to me.
The world is too much with us.
I feel this, often. It’s so hard to get away from everything, even when you want to. I crave a quiet space in the middle of the woods, the air thick with the scent of damp earth. I crave a place where I could turn in a circle and only see trees and ferns and moss, view uninterrupted by buildings or manmade debris. Not forever, just for a little while – a place to breathe and recollect. Sometimes the craving is so strong I can almost feel it, a phantom pain inside me.
It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.
– Robert Hass
That brief moment when you sit back and flex your fingers and haven’t reread what you wrote yet.
Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.
– Cory Doctorow
It’s a good reminder. Just sit down and write.
A writing teacher once told me that the most successful movies and books were simple plots about complex characters…you should be able to articulate your concept in a couple of lines.
– James Scott Bell, Fiction Attack
Too much of a rookie to know whether I agree or disagree with the ‘simple plot’ part of this, but I have been thinking about this quote for a couple days now and I know my character could benefit from being more complex.