I’m writing a book. One book. I have a thousand ideas on the topic; some are tiny, and others are larger. Some of the tiny ones could be developed into something interesting. Others are just passing. One of the problems with having a thousand ideas and only one book is that I think as I go. I don’t know what I’m going to say, practically, until I see the words scrawled on the page.
I used to just write in all directions, trusting that somehow a book would emerge. But I’m now on draft X (where x is greater than six but less than 10, and really I’d rather stop counting, please). I don’t want to write in all directions, I want to write in one direction. I want to focus on the right ideas and vignettes, the ones that will fit into the book and be good and interesting. I don’t want to just write 1,000 words a day, I want to write 1,000 words a day that are relevant to the book.
I remember wondering how I would ever get a book-length manuscript. I remember wondering how to structure chapters when I didn’t know what I was writing about. I remember freaking out because I had no idea how to write a fucking chapter. I remember freaking out because I don’t have an arc. (I’m still not sure I have an arc. That’s a lie. I do have an arc. I’m not sure I show the arc well enough.) The answer to all these questions was just keep writing. But maybe, just once, I should sit down and plan.
How do we do this thing?