Monthly Archives: January 2016

For Love of the Writing Game


Junot Díaz said this of writing the Pulitzer Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’:

“The novel had me lost the entire process. The beginning only revealed itself at the end. Very frustrating to find yourself having to start at the beginning again, but that’s how this writing game is.” (From the New York Times, T Magazine)

Yes, yes, it is.

Somehow it cheers me that even a genius like Díaz felt the pain. Writing is hard. Glorious, but hard.

I find myself again at the beginning of my YA novel. You wouldn’t think a simple tale of falling in love and discovering you’re a writer would be so freakin’ complicated. But it’s clear that every beginning thus far pales in comparison to how this novel might actually start. It hurts, draft eight! Yet I stare with wonder as my protagonist’s voice FINALLY fills the page.

Until I decide that it doesn’t. Then, maybe, draft nine. Oh, God, no!

Díaz continued, “In the end, I handed the book to my editor convinced that what I had written was a colossal failure. I spent the next eight months demoralized about the 11 years I had wasted on the book. Even after the awards, etc., it took a long time before I let myself look on the novel with any kindness.”

Yet, he didn’t quit. So write on friends. Because we love it while we’re hating it.