We finally received rain this past weekend, a lovely storm providing Silicon Valley with much needed precipitation. Other parts of the Bay Area were pounded, but I was happy for our soggy Sunday, as my cold abated, hand-sewing keeping me busy. I didn’t get much writing done, half a chapter that morning, but two other projects are coming along nicely.
I’m undergoing a rethink of this last section of The Hawk, both in plot and scope. The first few chapters I wrote tried to move the story along more rapidly than how it had been meandering, and while I’m not going to change those, I’ve come to realize that this last part is going to be whatever it is meant to be. It’s like the weather, over which we have no control. Professionals can forecast to the best of their abilities. However, the big rain that was supposed to hit us on Friday scooted right over the valley, dumping on the Santa Cruz Mountains. We got our half an inch or so on Sunday, and now we wait for the next storm.
How does that relate to my writing? I have this last part planned out, give or take a few rumbles of thunder. And to my pleasant surprise, not only did I come up with an answer to the chocolate cake recipe, but a fine manner in which to explain why Wilma Gordon shares that closely guarded secret. However, in doing so, more words will be necessary and…. And for as much as I wanted to keep this last section concise, that’s not gonna happen.
For all the rain that didn’t fall our way, it’s coming down as prose in buckets within my novel.
On Sunday morning, the words streamed forth until snot overwhelmed my authorial efforts. But it was the first writing in several days, and I was happy with it. Yesterday was the same, minus the mucous, as well as accepting that just as I have been doing for the last three years, I will write and let the rest sort itself out later. I can’t do anything else and feel comfortable with this story.
Whew, I feel better making that confession. For me, the only answer is to follow one’s heart within the art, regardless of good intentions. The creative spark is as fickle as rain, no way to harness it. My husband bought a thirty-gallon trash can to use as a rain barrel, so while I was sewing on Sunday, he popped outside every so often, hauling out a bucket of water, then dousing plants just beyond where rain landed. My writing is like that, how many paragraphs and scenes waiting to be allocated to either remaining within the manuscript, or destined for another home, ahem. They won’t do our geraniums any good, but if nothing else, I won’t feel frustrated trying to hold them back.
Part of successful writing is striving to improve one’s ability with language through practice. But another part is less tangible, much like the changing weather. Writers need to be mindful of the muse which brings them to this craft, fully aware edits can and will sort the wheat from the chaff. But first, allow those unwieldy elements to blow through, much like Friday’s useless cloudy day. For on Sunday, water fell from the heavens, filling not only my husband’s makeshift rain barrel, but replenishing dry ground. I can’t control my writing anymore than I can order the offshore flow. But when the words are ready, I can be like my hubby, prepared to catch as many of them as fall. He chooses what to water, while later I can hammer this draft into shape. Now, if there was just some way to equate all I write into rainfall totals. But that’s a dream for another day….