Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writing Fears: The Vision

The Lucy Variations,
by Sara Zarr
YA author Sara Zarr writes about the revision of The Lucy Variations.  She shares some vulnerable thoughts, trying to convince herself that "Yes, I succeeded in writing this book by completely making friends with the idea that I might have a massive failure on my hands."

I was struck by her view of the vision for her writing, and think it is easily applied to all of what I do as a maker of children's books.

She says:

It wasn’t until I read over the final page proofs for Lucy that I felt satisfied. It wasn’t perfect, but I felt: I did it. Though nothing ever matches the vision and the vision always changes, I wrote the book I wanted to write and didn’t think I could. And in that moment I knew that no matter what anyone else would think of the book down the line, I’d accomplished something deeply important to me. When people ask what’s the best thing about being a writer,that’s what I can never articulate. It’s a feeling of personal triumph. It’s a battle you fought, against all of your worst fears and insecurities and predictions of doom and homelessness and blacklisting and having to flee the country. Only know how close you came to not doing it, to running away, to intentionally getting your hands caught in industrial machinery so you’d have an excuse for missing a deadline . . . Maybe this isn’t true for all writers . . .But fear–even to the point of feeling hopeless–isn’t a sign we should stop doing the hard thing . . .

We move forward and through, and the rewards in that act alone are immeasurable. I’m at that stage I always come to in the writing process of savoring that, for these last few weeks while the book is mostly mine, then soon I will happily turn it over to you–because that is the completion of the satisfaction, wanting, hoping, to move others with what moved me or them making unexpected connections completely apart from my vision–and then see what’s next.

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