Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

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Today I returned to my local yoga studio, The Yoga Garden, after being away from yoga since May. The owner had recently renovated and this gorgeous sign greeted me upon entering the large classroom where we practice.

The teacher, who I’d never met before, focused the class on being grounded versus being in our heads. This seemed needful as I’ve run headlong from a relaxing month into the frenzy of the new school year. Also, this is the first September since I began writing fiction a few years ago that I’m not either attending school or working in one. During the last week of August, as September approached, I found that I was experiencing mixed feelings about days full of writing.

On Wednesday, a friend asked me how my Tuesday writing session went. I’d plopped myself in a coffee house for four hours while my son had a half day. “Terrifying.” I told her. She joked that maybe I don’t really want to be a writer, I just like the idea of it. I’ve wondered that too. More specifically, maybe I just like the coffee that comes with writing in cafes. But no, I feel the need to write fiction. Who knows why? Maybe it’s the escapist element of living in a made-up world or the sense of power that comes from creating people from thin air or maybe it’s the puzzling out of plot lines and character arcs. On different days, it’s a bit of each of those things. I’ve ceased questioning the “why?”

In August, I read through one of my WIPs and I’ve been organizing the structure of the story, deleting some scenes and planning for new ones. This particular project has been difficult for me to nail down. I’ve started over about four times. In the current version, which I started about a year ago, I have over 50k decent words. That sounds pretty good, right? It’s definitely something to work with — about 200 printed pages. But when I looked at “Orphan folder (where I store deleted scenes in case I want to poach from them later), I found that I had over 25K words. Wow. So for every two words I’ve kept, I’ve tossed one.

I didn’t dwell on that too much, but when that sign greeted me this morning, I grinned. I love when the Universe stops for a moment to speak to me. I’ll leave you with this quote from today’s daily email from The Happiness Project:

“Happiness, knowledge, not in another place but this place, not for another/hour but this hour…”

 Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

7 responses to “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

  1. Great story, Laura!!! I love that quote on the wall. I also have a Cut file with hundreds of pages of scenes and paragraphs cut from my novel.

    In your journey, I can’t help thinking of Markus Zusak’s TEDTalk. He reworked The Book Thief over and over until it became a book that meant everything to him. I think you’re in that process.

  2. Great post! This is what I keep telling myself as I try on different novels and radically change drafts. I may not have finished anything yet, but I’m getting a lot of practice!

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