“Do at least one thing every day that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt
What scares me most about writing? Hands down, the scariest possibility for me is the thought of writing a novel. Non-fiction, no problem. Even poetry is occasionally do-able for me, but writing a whole novel? NEVER!
Since earliest childhood I have lovely memories of escaping into hundreds of excellent novels, especially historical ones or those based on real people’s lives. But sitting down to write one is truly one of the most daunting tasks I can imagine.
From the very beginning I have always had to go through a ritual before I start a new writing project. I have to promise myself that I have the right to throw away anything I write if it doesn’t come out as I originally pictured it. My journals were the only place I always kept my first drafts.
When I started writing professionally five years ago, I knew that non-fiction was who I was. “Just the facts, Ma’am!” It is only lately I’ve been challenging that foregone conclusion. Novelists like Marianne Wiggins inspire me to live larger and to be more.
How does she write? She says near the end of The Shadow Catcher:
“How the average person dreams is how the average novelist puts a page together. Random bits of seen material float in, dismembered parts of memories, skeins of information knit and shred in contrast to their logic.”
I suppose for me the main issue is self-confidence. I have never imagined myself a novelist but that can always change…
“To make art is to realize another’s sadness within, realize the hidden sadness in other people’s lives, to feel sad with and for a stranger.” – Marianne Wiggins
Reminders me of one of my all-time favorite sayings:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”