Writing Amnesia

*To celebrate my one year blogging anniversary, I’ll be posting some of my favorite posts from 2013 through the month of December*

Writing Amnesia is truly a Godsend. I’m not sure if anyone else has ever experienced this, but every time I look back over a manuscript, I have this faint inclination that I wrote it, but I’m never certain. I read words that I no doubt spent hours agonizing over and yet I can never remember how exactly they got there.

It’s creepy and sometimes a little terrifying. But it’s almost as if my brain has learned to repress the parts of writing that feed into that tortured artist stereotype. You know the writer’s block, the starting over, the getting stuck, the doubt, the self-loathing. These adversaries are ever-present regardless of how many books you’ve written and they’re enough to stop a novice writer in their tracks.

And yet my brain has figured out a way to combat them, temporarily and only in retrospect of course, but whatever slate gets wiped clean between the writing of each novel, it’s my secret to never giving up. Because no matter how hard writing is in that moment, the reason I’m always able to start over is because I don’t dwell on those things. Without the memories, I can’t.

Instead, every time I start something new, sure I have anxiety, but I know I’ve done it before. And even though I can’t quite remember how, I have faith. So that’s what I operate on. When I’m staring at that blank page, wondering how I’m ever going to fill it with something worth reading, I take a deep breath and just start typing. If I’ve figured it out before, I will again. I always do. That’s my personal mantra. Besides, the how is never all that important anyway. We know there are no formulas for creating art. The process is always changing and so are we.

But as long as I know finishing is an inevitability and as long as I type every word with total faith that eventually they’ll all add up to something important, then they’ll do just that.

*Originally posted on 7/21/13*

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