NaNoWriMo Day 5: That Anne Lamont chick might have something

English: Bird
English: Bird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some interesting discoveries today.

I read a few chapters in Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird and was astounded to learn that she has the same take on the writing process that I’ve been experiencing.

She says that the first draft is shit!

I thought it was just me. I thought this was just something that I was experiencing and I was just going to grin and bare it. But this feeling is natural. It’s also natural to have an overactive critic spewing negativity. AND, it’s also natural to use your acceptance of the shitiness of the first draft as a way to quiet the critic.

Wow! that’s positively biological!

It’s common to have to get to know your characters. To not know them right away. And not to know exactly what’s happening with the plot. OMG! This is killing my inner control freak.

I’m still exhausted, just by life I suppose. A friend says I must be fighting something off, a cold or something. So whenever energy is mine (typically at 3 a.m.), I get up and write.

Well, you might say, that’s my problem. I’m getting up at 3 a.m. to write. No wonder I’m tired. And, yes, to some extent that is true. But  when else is there? I can’t risk not waking up with enough time to get ready to go to work and write. I absolutely am not at my best in the evenings.  So 3 a.m. it is, if that’s what happens. Although I’m hoping to break that habit. This morning, I woke up with a plot point that had to go in. It was important and other things would hinge on it. I had to get up and put it in. Right that second. Right then!

Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott (Photo credit: mdesive)

This evening I didn’t want to sit down to write. But I made the deal with myself. I don’t have to write anything that is good or usable, but I do have to sit down and make the attempt to advance the story.

And that worked better than I had imagined. A different scene came out than I was expecting. I never got around to writing what I thought I was going to write.

The group Cafe Noir is proving to be excellent writing music for this story.

Here are a few quotes (and thoughts) from Anne Lamont’s book that I especially liked:

  • “A writer paradoxically seeks the truth and tells lies every step of the way.”
  • “A person’a faults are largely what make him or her likable.” (This explains a lot.)
  • “They [your characters] shouldn’t be too perfect; perfect means shallow and unreal and fatally uninteresting.”
  • Your character needs to have hope.

And today in my NaNoWriMo mailbox was this advice from Catherynne M. Valente:

Write something true. Write something frightening. Write something close to the bone. You are on this planet to tell the story of what you saw here. What you heard. What you felt. What you learned. Any effort spent in that pursuit cannot be wasted. Any way that you can tell that story more truly, more vividly, more you-ly, is the right way.


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