Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Honest Harvest by Deborah Lytton
When I think of harvesting, I think of retaining the healthy crop and leaving behind the weeds. The hardest part of harvesting as a writer is knowing what part of our work is worth keeping and what part needs to be left behind. I like to work with paper and pen. I know I am old-fashioned, but there is something about scribbling my ideas on paper that allows me more freedom than when I see them in print on a screen in front of me. I guess I am willing to be imperfect with my pen. I can scratch things out and rip out pages, happily crumpling them and sometimes even throwing them across the room. On the computer, I am always afraid to delete something, so I end up saving file after file of drafts. I tend to scribble my ideas on paper and then type them up, allowing for a revision in the process. This way, I can only keep the best part of the crop and leave behind the weeds. But what happens when the whole manuscript is a weed? This week, I am asking myself that very question. I am working on a new manuscript, and I am 80 plus pages into my first draft. But it's just not working. It's not as good as it could be. The truth is that it isn't a crop worth harvesting. So as difficult as it is, I have decided to (gasp) start over. This is the biggest challenge of all writers, I think. Knowing when you are not producing your best work, and being honest enough with yourself to leave it behind. I hope all of your work today is worth harvesting--and as soon as I post this blog, I am going to grab my pen and paper and create some work of my own worth harvesting.