Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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Writing isn't scary

July 17, 2005

. . . but getting down to writing is. This morning it took me almost two hours -- and I'm the one who thinks Allie's unreasonable when it takes her two minutes to decide that there's no troll behind the flapping laundry, no horse-eating shark in that humongous puddle.

How did I procrastinate? Let me count the ways: do the dishes, play a few games of computer solitaire (new FreeCell streak is up to 15), read a few chapters in Laurie Marks's Earth Logic, practice hip-loosening exercises on the exercise ball, download e-mail, flip through the new issue of off our backs . . .

The scariness is worse when the project is ambitious and I've been away from it for some time. I'd been away from "My Terrorist Eye" for nearly a month, during which several people read and commented on the current draft (#6 by my reckoning). The responses were enthusiastic, the critiques very useful, so what was I afraid of?

That I'd start reading and realize that the whole thing was crap, unsalvageable, like jellified celery left too long in the vegetable bin.

I can be brave. I refill my green-ink pen with green ink (I wrote the first draft of "My Terrorist Eye" in green ink), wash the spilled ink off my hands, sit down in my chair, and pick up the manuscript (version 6.1, it says on the first page).

It doesn't look like jellified celery. The layoff, as usual, has made revision easy: I can see what needs cutting, and where the potholes are. I just spent two hours pruning and elaborating and making notes. Now I'm going up to the barn to turn the horses out. Here's hoping the damn thing doesn't turn to crap while I'm gone.


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