Mud and Writing

Girls knee high mudSometimes writing is like slogging through mud. A vast, clumpy sepia sea that extends beyond the horizon. A molasses thick morass that will be there when the sun goes down and when it comes back up.

That’s what the chapter I’m writing right now feels like. Thigh high mud that clutches my feet and ankles. Mud that’s all over my arms and in my hair and in my cuticles.

But I remind myself that the only way to get to a thinner version of the gunk and muck is to keep moving. The only way to get to higher ground and clearer water is to push ahead on the journey.

With each step, the extraneous words and facts get rinsed away. Each time I edit another draft, I’m closer to replacing an amorphous mass with a manicured lawn and a garden of lillies, roses and poppies. Mud and water boots

At the moment, I’m not sure how I’m going to get there. The seventy single-spaced pages–22,000 words–that sit in front of me need to be whittled down to half that length. What I thought was one chapter is insisting that it is two. The writing gods have told me I have no control over this. That I was wrong when I thought I could combine these scenes into one chapter.

They have told me that they have been generous enough to lead me to new material–which at first can just look like more mud–and now I must find the gold nugget,  polish it and make jewelry! While I think sometimes they’ve sent me off on tangents and wild goose chases, I have learned to trust them. They’ve told me they’re depending on me to use those revelations to tell some stories that have been forgotten and some truths that have been neglected.

Boots muddy waterAnd so I slog along with faith that the final draft–the equivalent  of a long, warm shower–is worth the effort.