Camp NaNo18: Day 11

After a long, roller coaster of a day, I’ve written 3,185 words, bringing me up to a total of 36,231 words for the month. I ended up splitting my writing between my brainstorming project (which has now surpassed 30k words) and a short speech for Toastmasters. The latter needs much refinement, including cutting about 300 words to make it a more reasonable length, but that’s for after Camp.

One of the things I’ve noticed this month is my ability to throw away old ideas for this story to make way for new ones. It’s amazing how time can dull the ache of killing your darlings. Given time away from a project, your perspective is altered and your opinion revised, sometimes even reversed. It reminds me of when, about a month ago, I pulled out my old art portfolio, expecting to find that certain pieces I had created were still interesting. But apparently ten years of experience in the real world, improvement in the medium, and the gradual dissipation of my initial love for any of those particular pieces really made a difference in how I regarded them. I was a little appalled by how bad they were!

Nonetheless, in writing as in art, our old work is nothing to feel shame about. After all, it is only on the foundation of that earlier effort that we are able to build something better. There’s never a “perfect,” and, as Michaelangelo (played by Charlton Heston) points out to Pope Julius II (played by Rex Harrison) in The Agony and the Ecstasy, the only time there is an “end” to our creative endeavor is “When I’m finished.” (The question is asked numerous times in the movie–in this clip, only once. If you haven’t already, find a way to see this classic film. It’s excellent!)

And while I’m no Michaelangelo, regardless of the craft, that possibility for improvement gives me something to strive for, something to live for. Without having first come up with those original ideas, I might not have conceived of another, much better idea that will make it into the final story.

Happy writing, everyone!



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