There’s something about a beach that changes us. We “un-lax” as opposed to relax, letting go of all but the most basic elements of our lives. We wake, eat, sleep, walk the beach, go in the water (if it’s not too cold), and generally let time take care of itself.
And then there’s writing. I took a week to go to the beach and write. I doubt any of this will be Pulitzer-prize winning prose, but my goal is to complete a messy first draft of Part II of my novel before I leave here. I came with about 90 pages and I’d like to go home with about 160-170 pages—enough to enable me to start shaping what I hope will be a good novel in the end.
Today, the temperature’s going up to 97F (clearly an off-shore wind), so I anticipate sweltering through the day, but the house I borrowed (such kind friends) has a cooler downstairs, so I may spend the afternoon in the gloom of the lower level in order to keep writing. And that’s the key—keep writing. Don’t go back and fix. Don’t decide to change direction (or change direction but don’t go back and “fix” what came before). Just keep going. What happens next?
I completed the first part of the novel intermittently. I still work full-time and I have to sliver my time into slots to keep going. I decided this wasn’t the best way to operate for Part II, so I’ve taken the plunge (literally) and am determined to write the worst draft ever of Part II before I head for home in the middle of next week.
Sometimes, I get stuck, but then I remember something I learned from Ellen Sussman at a recent writing camp: the rule of 3. If you’re stuck, write 3 possible options for what happens next, even if those options are the most outlandish possible. Surprise yourself, which is the key, isn’t it? Surprise yourself. If you don’t, you don’t surprise your reader and nothing keeps a reader going than being surprised into turning another page. Thank you, kind friends. Thank you, Ellen Sussman. Your gifts make my writing possible.
[Image credit: http://globe-views.com/dreams/surprise.html]