1/17/14

A mission statement for my writing project

I want to tell the very best story I can, telling it in a way that inspires me and stretches me to the very edges of my ability as a writer.

A writer friend of mine said something along these lines about her novel and I was really taken with the statement. I wish I'd written it down, for I'm sure my paraphrase above doesn't do it justice. But it was something like that.

I feel the same way, and it feels weighty to say it.

I don't just want to tell the story. I want to make it the very best story it can be.

I don't want to rush myself through the process of telling the story, focusing on the end outcome of getting it done. I want to tell the story in a way that keeps me in touch with the joy of the process and what I loved about the story idea in the first place.

I don't want to be satisfied with my current skills as a writer and count on them to deliver the story. I want to learn and grow and study the craft so my story has it's best chance to be good.

It is tempting some days to skip ahead of myself in this process and just write it. A first novel is probably going to be terrible no matter what, so I might as well get it done so I can move on to my second novel, which is bound to be better. Right? I think it was around when I was expressing this pessimistic thought that my friend shook her head and suggested another way.

Perhaps we are both right. The first one might be bad, no matter what, because it is a learning journey. And almost by definition the second book will be better because it stands on the shoulders of the first. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold ourselves to the highest standard for the first book. Lets get every scrap of learning out of this experience, by trying hard to make it good. Not just make it happen.

It was a good reminder. Thank you Kristin.

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