Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing the Rest

Here's the thing: I'm kind of obsessive.

Not to sound full of myself or anything, but I have a talent for writing. It's been more than 20 years since I discovered that fact, hence I'm confident and free from guilt in saying so. But I am OBSESSIVE about getting it right. I edit and revise and cut and paste and start over several times mid-first-draft. Obviously this makes for slow-going in the finishing department. It's not the only reason I don't finish -- that's a psychological fishing expedition for another day, I'm afraid -- but it has a significant impact. How do I buck the trend, then?

It occurred to me today that I like a lot of songs purely for a particular line or turn of phrase, be it the hook of the chorus or a throwaway couplet in the second verse. Even if the rest of the song, the meat of the song, is mediocre or twee or downright nonsensical, a great lyric will endear it to me forever. This is what I want from my writing now: one great line, one sublime paragraph, or a perfect piece of dialog. That's what I'm striving for. If I can get one solidly great sentence out of every piece, it'll be worth it. The rest will come. It's a new year and a new decade, and I'm in the mood to let go.

This is me letting go.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I'll read one line from a poem or novel and it will be so godloveit achingly wrenching and I'll think, omg, why didn't I write that. Sometimes I can end a book in the middle at a paragraph if that happens because I can't imagine it getting any better than that one line. I never want to lose it!

    I aspire to write the perfect line, and yes, in order to get there, she MUST write :)