Monday, October 24, 2011

The Novel and the Deep Blue Sea

I have written almost 100 short-stories over the past six years but my goal has always been to write a novel. Writing short-stories is a way of practicing the craft of writing without the enormous time commitment that a novel demands.

I used to think that writing a novel was much like reading a novel, except in reverse: the story would spool out my mind and onto the page. This story would be a secret that I shared with the page until I was ready to share it with the world. This is not the case.

I am beginning to realise that writing a novel is not just a matter of time. It requires one to devote a portion of their brain to the task. I have been dreaming of words. I have dreamt that I am trying to fit sentences together. They resist each other like similar poles of two magnets.

I used to think that once I began a novel, with every word I typed I would feel a little closer to my goal. The opposite is true. I feel like I am swimming away from a comfortable shore. Every word is a stroke further out into an empty ocean. I may be swimming towards something that is just over the horizon. I do not feel this. I feel like I am out of my depth.

I have some determination that my novel will not join the millions of unfinished novels that abound in this world. And so I swim onwards. I swim through a sea of words. I cannot tell where this will lead me. I seem to have no choice but to continue.


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