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Writing Quote: Demanding to Be Written

May 23, 2010

Time is short these days, and I don’t get much time for writing, except here on my blog (and it looks like I’ll be cutting back on that for a little while).  But for almost as long as I’ve thought of myself as a writer, I’ve been working on, to some degree or another, the same book.  While I started the book when I was a kid, it’s grown and evolved with me, becoming more complex, more mature, and to my mind more entertaining.

For the past couple years, due to various circumstances, I haven’t really worked on my book in any significant way.  Sure, I’ve made notes here and there about ideas and plot points and characters, and historical background.  I’ve got a notebook where I make those notes, and sometimes I type them up into my computer.  But I make a new note on average once every two or three weeks, and then its usually only a few short thoughts.

In the meantime, I’ve come up with a few new novel ideas for books that I think I may need to write before returning with full attention to that book that’s been with me since forever, if for no other reason than to test and grow my skill as a writer before trying my hand at rewriting my defining saga.

It’s sometimes a melancholy thought, to be apart from this book for so long, to have made no progress in it.  I long to write it.  I yearn to write it.

And for this reason, today’s quote caught my eye, by esteemed African American author Toni Morrison:

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. 

~Toni Morrison

You see, that book of mine: it’s like the fantasy novel version of me.  It’s not a dramatization of my life’s history, or anything so dull as that.  But the book is as though the character of who I am, and of all the little bits of my life, are transformed into this little world, and these characters, and their lives.  It’s a reflection of myself.  And, all the while, I think it’s just a good old-fashioned adventure tale of the good-versus-evil and coming-of-age and finding-yourself and boy-meets-girl and love-conquers-all variety (it’s not a romance by any means – far too much violence in it for that – but like all good stories, there’s a bit of romance on the side).

You know, I think it’s the kind of book I’d like to read.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lua permalink
    May 23, 2010 3:08 pm

    I can’t wait to read your book, I’m sure it’s going to be fascinating! 🙂
    This is one of my favorite quotes ever! “then you MUST write it,” It’s like she’s telling us that if we have a story that we wish to read but can’t because it isn’t written yet, than it is our duty to write it. She’s not saying it would be nice, she’s saying that this is something that must be done.
    I love how you described your book, “It’s a reflection of myself.”- couldn’t be more true…

    • May 24, 2010 8:59 am

      You’re right, it’s a bit unequivocable. It’s as if she’s suggesting that the world will be a lesser place if we do not write it. And in some ways, it just might be, I think.

      Unfortunately, it’ll be a few years, at the earliest, before this book is ready for first readers. Especially since I’m strongly considering starting work on a very different novel, first, once my free time opens up – in order to practice my skill and craft on a slightly less-personal tale before turning back to this story that’s deeply embedded in me. Either way, at best I won’t have time to really focus on writing either book until I finish my Master’s degree. That’s partly why I’m focusing on short stories right now.

      If you’re still interested in a few years, though, I’ll be glad to keep you in mind for a first crack at it!

  2. May 23, 2010 9:00 pm

    I agree with Lua. It’s the “MUST” in this quote that pops out. I never thought of it that way, but I do believe it’s true. If I don’t write it, who will? Speaking of that, I believe I’ve done enough procrastinating. Time to get the writing done for today. I must 🙂

    I’d also love to read it when one of these days you’re done with it. If you’re ever in need of a beta reader ~raises hand to volunteer~

    • May 24, 2010 9:01 am

      *whipcrack*

      Yeah, it’s a great quote!

      As in my reply to Lua… same applies here. I’d be delighted to have a few beta readers when I finish this novel… but maybe you’d consider beta reading a less personal novel as well, if I finish that first? Either way, hopefully I’ll start on one or the other in about a year (when I finish my Master’s).

      • May 24, 2010 12:06 pm

        A less personal novel? Aren’t they always personal? 🙂 Yes of course. I wouldn’t mind reading that either.

      • May 24, 2010 12:15 pm

        By which I meant: one that I haven’t been working on in one form or another for 15+ years…

        But you’re right of course.

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