Carolyn Porter | Messy and Earnest
If you—yes you—are working on a messy but earnest project all I will say is this: keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.
Writing process, Early Drafts, First draft, Writing craft, Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate, Author tips, Carolyn Porter
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Messy and earnest

Whew. I had lots of unexpected feelings as I cleaned out my office storeroom today. I was not prepared for the rush of emotions I’d feel at seeing early drafts of Marcel’s Letters.

I found drafts from those messy but earnest early days when I did not yet know how the story was going to come together. Drafts before anyone else in the world laid eyes on a page; later, notes from trusted early readers. I found dogeared drafts with red marks, highlighter and sticky notes. Stained pages held together with rings, clips and string. Checklists, checklists, checklists. I found drafts asking ‘why this’ and ‘why that.’ I even found an analog spread sheet that mapped out action/resolution (actually, I might keep that). And I found a $20 bill from a friend that I need to investigate (did I make a bet on something?!).

It was a bit overwhelming to see the drafts all together like that, to be honest, and it made me think that this might be one of those projects where if I knew going in how much work it would be I might not have started at all.

As the stack grew higher, the words that kept coming to mind were “messy” and “earnest.”

If you—yes you—are working on a messy but earnest project all I will say is this: keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

 

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