Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trust the process

I'm thinking about writing a book.

I keep saying it that way - "I'm thinking about writing a book" - despite the fact that I have already started writing - despite the fact that this blog itself is just a big old jumble of pre-writing. But a book is different from a blog. A blog can be edited and re-edited and deleted on a whim. A book has permanence and heft. A book is Significant and Important.

A book requires thought.

So I'm thinking about it. A book, I mean. Writing one.

But I'm starting to feel a little like Hamlet, spending a whole lot of time on the "to be or not to be" contemplation, and very little time on the actual doing of anything. I sit down at the computer and think, "Right. Book. Okay... Page 1," and my mind goes blank.

A couple of months ago, through the magic of Google, I tracked down my college writing professor to tell him that, twenty years out, I remembered his class, his advice, and his wisdom. I told him that as I developed a writing class of my own, I used his as a model. He wrote back to say that "of course" he remembered me (which, I think, says more about the kind of teacher he is than about the kind of student I was). We've been in touch a few times since, and recently I described my book-block to him.

He said that the solution was simple: Stop trying to write a book. Just let the book happen.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a writer friend who has published several books and who, it seems, is about to publish The Big One Which Will Make Him Wildly Famous. He's been supportive and encouraging about my Thinking About Writing a Book and has offered his help and direction. As I talked through my current paralysis, he suggested that I type out three words and post them on my wall:

Trust the process.

"Trust the process," he said. "It's not about you; don't try to make it about you. Have the courage to make a mess of your work, and to let the process unfold. Engage in it completely, and trust that it will move in the right direction."

And then I got it.

My friend had just described my philosophy of parenting: Don't make it about me. Be brave. Engage fully. Pay attention. Trust the process.

I do it every day with Bud. As he changes and evolves and grows and develops and morphs, I co-pilot without a guidebook or a road map - without, even, a clear sense of our destination. We just sit close together, hold on tight, and follow the Force. We trust the process.

And the process never lets us down.

So I'm trying it again. I'm plunging in and making a mess and navigating by instinct and watching to see what unfolds.

I'm trusting the process.

I'm writing a book.


Jannalou said...

Good for you!

So am I. I want to have it finished by the end of the month, so I'm writing a scene a day (I was half done when I started doing that).

November 1 will see me begin to work on the sequel... attempting to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. (See NaNoWriMo for details.)

I love writing. Making myself do it in such a disciplined manner, though... always been hard.

So, what I'm trying to say (and doing a bad job of spitting out) is Good Luck! :)

Wendy said...

Ooooh, I can't, can't, can't wait!!! :)

Book tour? Through DC, please? :)

kristina said...

Words and thoughts I need tonight!

(Because, by yet another act of serendipity, you've blogged about exactly what I'm thinking.)

kristina said...

PS. I am putting in my request now for a copy of the manuscript to review on Autism Vox!

Anonymous said...

woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

yay, MOM-NOS! trust the process!! i'm about to embark on my second nanowrimo and am deep in the throws on the new anthology and the whole process is wild, exhilerating, bumpy, and full of lessons. yes. just like parenting!

Kaethe said...

Seeing what a fabulous, mindful job you're doing rearing Bud, I have no doubt that you'll write an excellant book. I trust your process.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read it. I'm sure you will have many fans! Please share any details with us. I'd love to hear all about it.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read it. I'm sure you will have many fans! Please share any details with us. I'd love to hear all about it.

Bea said...

I've been lurking for awhile, and let me just say - I'd buy any book you wrote. You're an amazing writer.

Daisy said...

Go Mom-nos! I'll buy it -- and I'll expect an autograph, too.

Anonymous said...

Way to go MOM-NOS. Please share your process. I've been thinking about writing a book also, so if you have any secrets on the process, please share. Good luck.


Anonymous said...

I think the book inside of you has been waiting to come out.
Good for you and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with the writing. I have often thought about writing a book...my life seems to be one convoluted tale. Perhaps something I write might actually touch someone and make their day a little better.

I am sure that your book will be a bestseller

Anonymous said...

go ahead...make a mess, take a leap, listen to your friend...clearly, you already have a group of believers...I believe...mh

MommyTof3 said...

OH!!!! I cant wait-please keep us informed-I love how just by the words and how you write-you can touch me with things I am going through with my own son. You will def have a hit on your hands when you are done!!!!Take the leap!!!

Connie Deming said...

You know, m-n, most of your book is already here, rich, full and intact. I can't imagine any decent publisher turning away from any of these incredible nuggets!

I've been right there battling that same blank page myself, for a few years now.

Keep the faith. It's gonna happen for you.