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December 11, 2011



Dana, I wish I had a good answer to any of those questions, but I don't. The answer is always different. Each book or story seems to show us how that project has to be written, and some seem to need wrestling for reasons that are never clear. This work doesn't come with a manual. The fascinating part to me is that when a particular project comes to life only with great difficulty, once it's finished, the writer's effort is rarely evident. However much or little we had to work with it doesn't show.


Kris, sometimes I wish there was a manual! Some days, I'm pretty sure I know my process, others...it's a mystery.


Love the photos! I can relate to that first one, for sure. Until I hit the downhill slide somewhere around two-thirds of the way into a story, I'm driving with no headlights. Doesn't matter how much pre-planning I do.

Elaine Viets

I try a walk along the docks near my condo, Dana. Looking at the water seems to free my brain, if I'm lucky.
During one epic fail, when I couldn't start a novel, my wise agent said,"I forbid you to write a word on that book for a month."
About two weeks in, I'd started it and kept going. Child psychology.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

OH, gosh, the "just keep writing" is my mantra..oh,well.

I think we do know more, subconsciously, than we know "out loud," and I keep believing that will emerge. And you know, for you, it did, right? Just not in away that you expected.

So maybe one thought is not to keep looking so frantically (although Dana, I can't imagine you being frantic), but when it happens it happens. It always happens. You just don't know when.


Thanks, Mary! I don't mind the blind driving, it's when I'm not even on the right continent that flummoxes me. That's what I get for thinking I knew what was going on .

Yes, Elaine--I walk to the beach a lot, and it does help. I like that agent's advice, and will definitely try it out!

You're right, Hank. Re-reading the essay, I realized I should have just gone with the story I had, kept writing that, instead of forcing it/ wanting it to be something else. Maybe I can take a crack at the other idea, now this one has found its way into the world!

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