Every month, I connect with my Write With Allison Tait group via Zoom and we talk about the ins and outs of writing.
It’s an opportunity to catch up with everyone about how their projects are progressing, for me to answer any questions that might come up and for us to explore the world of writing. One thing about being in a writing group is that someone else will often ask a question that you didn’t even know you had until it’s articulated.
It was in the midst of a discussion about editing and rewriting that I had a revelation of my own.
I was reminding the group about something Kate Forsyth said during her recent visit to the group.
“You have to love planning or you have to love editing,” she said. “You’re going to have to do one or the other.”
I’m currently in the middle of the fourth draft of a middle-grade manuscript that I began three or four years ago. And when I say ‘fourth draft’, I mean, ‘total upending and rewrite’, which is not easy.
You would think, I joked to the group, that I’d have learnt my lesson by now and become a dyed-in-the-wool planner.
And then went on to explain all the reasons that I haven’t.
Because, for me, the high of writing comes from discovery. From taking a ‘what if’ question and rolling off down a hill to see what might happen.
Even as I explained myself last night, I felt the goosebumps rising.
The thrill of the chase is what keeps me writing.
Even when I am mired in mud, feeling my way through, trying to solve a crisis of my own making, those moments when it all comes together and I’m flying along a path once more are what makes it worthwhile.
It’s why I started writing fiction in the first place.
I am always quick to point out the downsides of this method – and my planning and plotting friends are kind enough to be gentle with me when I wail about my fourth rewrite – and it is true that I am more likely to outline these days.
But I am glad that I had the opportunity to articulate that feeling last night.
It will help me turn chapter three inside out today.
Why did you start writing?