I’ve been practicing classical guitar lately. Mostly arpeggios and reading music in divisi. (See how handy I am with those terms, haha) I was lax while working on the novel, and I’ve been working on the novel a year and half. So my CG playing suffered.
I kept up with the guitar during that year and a half. I played the songs I knew and fiddled around with it. But a rigorous practice schedule? That had to fall by the wayside.
Which is what I want to talk about. I firmly believe if you are going to write you have to make strong choices. Which is more important? Writing, or something else. There isn’t often room for compromise, it seems.
Margaret Mitchell used to tell a story about how bad she felt when people invited her out to dinner and she had to beg off and they couldn’t understand why. It was because she was writing Gone With the Wind.
Writers have to make hard choices. It’s not you, it’s the story that is important. You can’t meet it half way. There’s no room for compromise. The story comes first. The story is all.
Every successful writer I know believes this to some degree. I definitely believe it. I probably go too far with it. People who do not write see it as YOU being selfish. They don’t understand. They will never understand. You have nothing to do with it. It’s the story which demands attention.
It’s crazy sometimes. How we get pulled in by a story. This happened to me with this latest novel. Despite all the problems I had writing the thing I always knew there was something there worth finding.
Writing is hard enough as it is. It is a very solitary exercise. A good writer has to be comfortable with that and willing to spend the time necessary to bring the story to light. Because it’s the story, not you, that is most important.
You are just the writer. The story is eternal. And it will always be that way.