For Thursday, February 25, 2016:
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
E. L. Doctorow
And it’s not only about the process of writing itself. Anyone who does regular journal work knows this as well. We learn about ourselves. We discover that we know more – about what makes our writing strong and what makes us strong – than we thought we did.
Yesterday, while I was making what I hope are final edits on a chapter in my novel, I added a sentence for a character that is new for this third draft. It just kind of appeared, and when I saw it, I said ‘Well now, where did that come from?’ It’s amazing what a few simple words can do – that one sentence fits the character perfectly and fleshes her out a little more.
Readers won’t know which sentence it is, but it made me sit up and take notice. Did it come from me-the-writer in terms of technique, or me-the-person, who must have had a sense of the insight from which the words emerged? Or did it come from the character herself?
In this case, at least, perhaps it’s a blend of all three components. I may never know, and that’s part of the wonder of writing for me. As we learn how to write and what to write when, we discover ourselves.