Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

I Need to Live in My Mud Boots

Most often, before I write something, anything, I can hear the words in my head before I commit them to paper. I write inside my head so often and so easily that if I’m in the middle of a debate or argument with my husband someone and start to suffocate with an inability to articulate, I’m immediately writing a response…inside my head.

For the book project I’m tackling, I have several bits and pieces written but I’ve been rather frustrated that the words aren’t jumping from my brain to my fingertips. I spent most of the weekend away from the computer and the dredges of my mind were working out dialogue and plot scenarios while I was engaged in domestic duties and enjoying family time.

Last night while trying desperately to fall asleep, I finally realized why I’m struggling. The story is so complex and layered and I’ve been thinking too much about how the story ends, when in reality I don’t know yet. When I started this project, I thought the main character was my grandmother and that the book would be her life story, and it is, but because of the generational complexities I’ve not yet done a good job of developing a protagonist. Big ah ha moment for me here. I want the story to end in a certain way, but in reality, and this is a non-fiction work, that certain ending hasn’t and most likely won’t be realized.

I can’t write the ending inside my head until I spend more time in the middle—you know—the place where everything is muddy and where nothing is quite what it seems; the place in a book where we lose ourselves in a page turning frenzy and we’re actually inside the words instead of passively reading them. Yup…I need to spend more time in that place. Once again I realize there are things in life that you simply have to wade through before you can develop any true perspective.

I need to live in my mud boots for a few weeks and forget about what happens when I get to take them off.  That part of the story isn’t ready to be written.

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13 comments to I Need to Live in My Mud Boots

  • Mud boots and a backpack can get you through anything! Hang tough and keep your feet moving. The end will come, when it is ready.

    WickedStepMoms last blog post..Jail Keeper

  • Jan

    When asked how he writes, Stephen King always answers, “One word at a time, man.”

    While I have no aspirations, to say nothing of the ability, to be a novelist – be it of fiction or non-fiction – I am gearing up for one of my rare “serious” posts on Wednesday for the Spin Cycle. I am thinking of attacking the subject of “mistakes” (and isn’t that a loaded gun just waiting to go off) in one of two ways, and I haven’t decided which I’m going to do. Chances are, I’ll start with one approach and if that doesn’t seem to work or goes in a direction I don’t want it to, I’ll go to plan B.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is perhaps you should start just writing, and see where it takes you. And don’t forget you have a proof-reader volunteering.

    Jans last blog post..7 Layer Dip

  • Good luck with the middle…you’ll get through it.

    Smalltown Moms last blog post..Arts and Crafts

  • What a great lesson for life as well. I’m often so concerned with an end result or what comes next, that I fail to live in the present…thanks for the insight today :)

    Danielles last blog post..Earth Day Everyday

  • You are an intriguing woman, Tricia! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    HeatherPrides last blog post..Marching for Maddie

  • Rushing to the ending is a problem for all of us. The middle gets passed over easily. My daughter is so excited to tell the punch line of a joke, the point leading up to it is full of holes. Often times she doesn’t even notice because the ending is the part that matters to her.

    Good for you for being aware of the roots of your problem. Aside from jokes, I like it when people are telling a story or working through an idea without a committed ending. I get the most satisfaction when the author and I discover what the ending should be together. I’ve read things before where I’ve known almost instantly what the ending was going to be and kept hoping the author would surprise me and take me on a journey. When it didn’t happen, it was a disappointment.

    Have fun in your mud boots. Although, maybe you should go barefoot so you can really feel and experience what you’re walking through. Getting dirty might be the point.

    Lisa Ps last blog post..What’s My Rain

  • I was all ready to write my response when I saw it was already there, but someone else wrote it for me… (thanks Danielle!)

    Best of luck with the murkey middle, can’t wait to see how it turns out.


    Stephs last blog post..Warm sun and longer days

  • I’m going to be working on a writing project this summer. I can see myself where you are now. But still excited about it.

    Pseudos last blog post..Money in the Bank Meets Earth Day Leftovers

  • It’s good to hear (read, whatever) about other writers working on their long pieces. It helps inspire me to get back to rewriting my novel.

    Ugh – the middle. Can I borrow your mud boots when you’re done?

    Margaret (Nanny Goats)s last blog post..Keys: The Lost Episodes

  • We all need to live in our mudboots for a couple of weeks.

    Madges last blog post..The Perfect Post

  • It’s the great stuff in the middle that makes a person want to attempt the beginning and hate it when it finally ends. That’s my own personal measure of a great read.

    Good luck and I have no doubts you’ll turn out a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother and her heart wrenching story.

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..Should We Eat Cake In The Cellar?

  • I’m with Heather Pride. I can’t wait to see the final thing once you’ve waded through all the mud, of course! :)

    steenky bees last blog post..Tweens: A Study

  • This post brings to mind a piece of art from Mary Engelbreit that I love. “If you’re gonna pray for rain, you’re gonna have to deal with a little mud.” *sigh*

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..IS THIS SEXTING?

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