Writing Paralysis.

Faithful readers might recall November 2011, when I committed to writing a book in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month. I completed the 50,000 word count, and the book has pretty much languished in my Google Drive ever since. But I really do want to try and get it polished up for public consumption, so I’ve been trying to revise the chapters one at a time.

Last week I read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. I’m a fan of Didion’s writing–it’s academic and accessible at the same time, and when I read her writing, I (stupidly) feel like I can someday write near to her level. I read Didion, and I’m motivated and inspired to make those revisions on my book and send it off to publishers.

This week I started David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. I’m also a fan of Sedaris’ writing–it’s hilarious and heartwarming at the same time, but when I read his writing, I am convinced that I should never write another word as long as I live. I read Sedaris and his wit paralyzes me, his vocabulary intimidates me, and while I am crying tears of laughter as I read his anecdotes, there’s a few tears of sadness mixed in because each word of his I read crushes my tiny writing dreams.

So if you are looking for a good book, I recommend either of these, but it’ll be a long while before you get to read mine.

3 Comments

  1. I am impressed with anyone who actually tries and completes NaNoWriMo. And Ilove Didion's writing – have you read Blue Nights? Interesting meditation on mother-daughter relationships, aging, and memory. I will have to add Explore Diabetes With Owls to my never-ending to-read list.

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  2. I can see how both books could be emotionally draining, although I devoured Magical Thinking multiple times while my mother was dying and after she died. It was very comforting at the time, for some reason. I do wish I could have seen the one woman Broadway production of Magical Thinking with Vanessa Redgrave.

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