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I'll Be a Great Writer . . . Later

Most writers sit down at their desks intending to be great writers. Otherwise, why would you do it? But the thing I've learned after writing twelve novels and a bunch of other stuff is that sometimes you have to accept that you are not a great writer in that moment, and trust that you will be one at some undefined point in the future. Let me explain.


I often reach points in my work in progress where I don't know what to write next. I know what happens a few miles down the road, but I don't know what happens here, at this exact spot, where my metaphorical car has broken down and I am stuck on the side of the road. Before I finished my first novel this was the place where I would stay, stuck on the side of the road without a ride. But I've learned that there are times when you have to leave that car there (I may be losing control of this metaphor) and hop in someone else's car and just get home however you can. You have to trust that you'll be bale to go back later and fix whatever it is that's not working.


I think this is one of the hardest things for writers to learn, but it's so important. I wrote a scene yesterday that I know will be a really important one. It's not there yet, because there are a few things that I don't yet know about the characters in the scene. Early in my writing career, I would have gotten stuck on the scene until I knew enough to write it. Now, I just move along, trusting that I'll come back to it later and that by then I'll be able to write a scene of which I'll be proud.

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