Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are we there yet?

One of the hardest things about writing for writers at all stages is the discipline.

Yes, I said it. Discipline.

We are two year old children who want to play, play, play in the first draft, the sexy new idea stage, but when it comes to drafts two...four...ten...we stop listening to our stories, stare out the windows, and bemoan,

"Are we THERE yet?"

Well...I suppose that depends on where "there" is. If you mean that big final destination banner that says:

Then no.
You're not there.

And even if you are there and have something published, it all starts over with a new story.

If I learned anything as a ten year old on our extremely long drive from Nebraska to the keys in Florida, it was to celebrate along the way. After miles of hours with six people squished into an Oldsmobile, the games played out and too dark to see anything, we stopped.

Somewhere in Mississippi, standing alone by the road in the middle of the night, is a gas station that has the best strawberry soda. The BEST. Further along were boiled peanuts from a little stand run by people selling their special family recipe. And the beaches of Pensacola on Christmas day were as humbling and rewarding as any banner will ever be.

But I wouldn't have tasted those things if I wasn't looking out the window in the first place.

So discipline yourself. Draw out your first draft map so you have an idea where you're going and then swallow the steps along the way, like really great strawberry soda, because they are more important for your story and writing skills than any destination point.

Note: I will be attending the SCBWI Symposium in Bologna until strawberry soda reward:) More to come...


  1. Hi Deni,
    I'm one of the wannabe "German" authors who's attending the fair in Bologna. I got your e-mail that you couldn't meet on Sun. Too bad.
    But I've read some of your posts here - and think they're great! Well written and thoughtful. And being in a similar situation, I can really relate.
    Just stick with writing your stories, enjoy the ride and one of these days you'll get there. (Me too, I hope.)
    BTW I'm making a stab at starting a blog myself. It's difficult to know which direction to go with it, though. If you want to take a look, it's at
    I live near Nuremberg, not too far from Vilseck. We might look at the possibility of doing some critiquing.
    Anyway I'm looking forward to meeting you in Bologna!

  2. This is so so true! It's hard to sit down and write something every day. Or edit. Or social network. Or read to keep up with trends. It takes discipline. Great reminder.