I don’t believe in coincidences.

A few weeks ago I found an old beat-up copy of Magic Kingdom for Sale by Terry Brooks in a thrift store I almost never go in. I used to love to read Terry Brooks and listened to his books on audio while I worked. So when I stumbled on this book for the bargain price of $1.50 on a very crappy day, I snagged it. Just holding it made me feel a little bit better. (Only a true lover of books has a chance of understanding this…)

Weeks have passed, other books and priorities have taken precedence and Magic Kingdom has ended up on my shelf, unread.

Then I was sick for a few days, to the extent that I couldn’t work on my writing more than a sentence here or there, and I thought too much about how I felt like my book had nothing holding it together and why was I trying to stick with it and maybe it was time to let it go…

Cue to yesterday evening’s post, “Doubts,” written on my way to Third Place Books to hear six YA authors speak about their works and their writing processes.

Sometimes you hear just what you need to hear, just when you need to hear it. Lish McBride said that she gets grouchy if she hasn’t written in a few days; that writing is a compulsion for her… Her words affected me deeply and to my embarrassment, I found myself reacting to them. (We don’t call them tears: we call them an allergic reaction. Remember that.) Why did I react? Because, she’d just described me. And if that’s what a published writer experiences, then there was a chance that I wasn’t a fraud or a failure as a writer just because I can’t churn out words as fast as everyone around me. Like I said, we all have doubts. (Or most of us – if you don’t have doubts, then I don’t want to know. I really don’t.)

The other writers said things that helped me too, mostly in answer to a question about how they stuck with their work; how they kept from getting bored. Their answers described processes not unlike mine and to hear one of them say she even had to put her work aside for two months and work on something else made me feel better. Because I’ve been feeling the need to step back from the actual writing of my book to do more exploratory work on it – work that I did a year ago and a few times since but that now has to be redone, now that the book has changed direction and shape so dramatically.

I don’t believe in coincidences.

When I got home from dinner with friends, something made me gravitate to my writing books and I found a book I’d forgotten I had: Terry Brooks’ Sometimes the Magic Works – Lessons from a Writing Life.

Sometimes you hear what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

Lester del Rey told me repeatedly that the first and most important part of writing fiction is just to think about the story. Don’t write anything down. Don’t try to pull anything together right away. Just dream for a while and see what happens. There isn’t any timetable involved, no measuring stick for how long it ought to take. For each book, it is different. But that period of thinking, of reflection, is crucial to how successful your story will turn out to be. ~Sometimes the Magic Works, Terry Brooks

I’m ready to start dreaming my story again. You don’t have to be on anyone else’s timetable to tell your story. And neither do I.


About thewritingblues

I'm a writer working on a YA dystopian novel and blogging on my progress - or lack thereof - and other cool writing stuff.
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