Growth Spurt

12 thoughts on “Growth Spurt”

  1. Well, let’s face it, Hendricks *is* the best gin! I first grappled with this issue when the kids started getting differentiated in public school, that bastion of “everyone has a gift,” right? Except some of us have gifts that are acknowledged by society (reading above your grade level? Great! Able to communicate with animals? We don’t test for that, sorry.) It’s a conundrum, IMO: looking at the world as it is means being honest about the inherent inequality that’s simple biology AND knowing when we *create* inequality through societal policies, biases/prejudices, (lack of) distribution of resources. It’s grey everywhere I look and being with that discomfort is hard. I’m reading Pema Chodron (sp?) and getting some language for that discomfort but: it’s uncomfortable. Period. But thanks for the post ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Yes, Hendrick’s is the best. If ever I become rich, I will buy it by the case. And the resource issue is key. And I guess I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sigh.

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  2. Andrea, I don’t have any great words of wisdom on this. In the novel I have my Jack Moriarty (Kerouac) character ruminate a few times about writing and the creative process. At one point he makes reference to some rules of writing that Henry Miller composed and quotes his favorite: ‘If you can’t create, at least you can work.’ I took this to mean that better writing comes from just plunking your butt down in a seat and working at the craft every day.

    Our writing group is populated with very nice folks who month after month say they “want” to be writers, but rarely bring anything worth talking about. I look for the ones who HAVE to be writers because what’s going on inside is bursting to get out somehow.

    Kerouac’s “On The Road” is praised because he wrote it out on one long scroll, like a great jazz riff, a novel-length expression of a Zen koan “first thought, best thought.”

    Yet, while the book took that form and seemingly just weeks to write, Kerouac spent years gathering the experiences, making notes, starting and stopping, gathering the energy and form to at last give it birth.

    So, while Kerouac is praised for seemingly ‘pantsing it’, perhaps his real genius is of someone who worked his ass off to make it look like he didn’t.

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    1. This is what I keep hearing – that the truly great writers are able to make their work seem effortless, as if they pantsed it, when really it took an extraordinary amount of structuring, tweaking, and polishing to create that illusion. In Writing for Story, Franklin called the apprenticeship long and tortuous, which was comforting on the one hand and completely deflating on the other. Either way, I’m counting on decades. Hope I live long enough.

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  3. Hi Andrea, I’ve enjoyed your blog for awhile, and can identify with your Butterfly Mind. I may be wrong but I think it was Edith Wharton who put words on page 1 to a novel with no idea where she was going. It was part of the serendipitous creative journey to see where the blank page would take her. Of course other writers (maybe most) are more disciplined when it comes to structure. And still others have only an idea of the middle and end, and are willing to throw away a ton of pages in between to understand and get to know their characters. Because my mind is so flitting, and I get so wrapped up in the words, they take me to other places that don’t move the story forward (which is what happened in my first manuscript)- so I too am experimenting with style and structure in my 2nd attempt, hoping to find a balance that complements the two. I’d love to come back and see where your thoughts are later on this! Good luck with this growth spurt.

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    1. I’m interested to see where my thoughts go, too. Will I find one method (structuring) too forced and anti-fun, therefore killing all the joy I ever found in writing to begin with? Is mastering the craft worth that? Or will I love the results so much it will be worth the pain? I have no idea. Thank you for the Edith Wharton example; I find encouragement that a writer whose name I recognize might have written with total freedom, and that her words not only resonated, but endured.

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  4. I can totally relate! As a newbie blogger I am discovering that I have to “suffer” through certain processes in order to grow, I have an immense appetite for the resources necessary to become a better writer, and I also have found that I enjoy some unexpected aspects of writing while others (which I assumed would be so super fun) are dreadful! Glad to know that I am not alone, and looking forward to more of your posts.

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      1. I am happy to share! For me, a big surprise was finding that I particularly enjoy writing about food and how it connects with principal moments in my life. I have discovered that favorite memories are almost always connected with food in some way or another. Writing about these memories, often with a recipe in tow, has been both pleasurable for me and warmly welcomed by my readers. On the dreadful side (for me) is attempting to add to good ideas but then feeling uninspired or unmotivated by the topic, which leaves me asking myself why the reader would want to read the post at all. This doesn’t happen with food, so I created a blog only about food to follow that impulse. I suspect that part of my growth spurt is figuring out what I REALLY want to write about. Thanks for your encouragement!

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  5. The perfection part is on point. I also get a bit fussy when it comes to reading other people’s works and at the same time I myself has not reached the point of perfection.

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