This is a poem I wrote for National Poetry Month – April.
How to write a book
Write some more
Write until you get to the end of the story.
Do a little happy dance.
Tell people that you wrote a book.
Read your book.
Crawl under your desk and weep and bang your head against the wall until the sound makes the neighbours crazy.
Re-write the book adding some annoying neighbours.
Get pulled into the story again.
Rant and rave at your characters.
“Behave,” you say, “or I’ll kill you off.”
They laugh and run off to dance in the moonlight.
Bang your head some more.
Apologize to the neighbours, again.
Tell them you’re writing a book.
Start to wonder how any one person could have made so many mistakes in one book.
Fix mistakes, make new ones.
The book takes on a life of its own.
No longer just words on a page, this is your baby and you want it to grow up healthy and strong and maybe be a bestseller someday.
Allow the neighbours to read your precious child.
Gnash your teeth when they point out that the scene with the talking donkey really just doesn’t work.
You love that scene; you wept tears of happy abandon writing that scene.
Can’t they recognize brilliant writing?
Cut the scene.
Start to hate the book, again
It’s horrible, mindless drivel, but it isn’t the book’s fault.
So you keep working,
Cut more scenes that you love,
Let a few stay in,
One day think:
This whole thing may actually work out.
It isn’t going to change the world.
No one may even read it.
But it’s time.
The story has to stand on its own now.
There are still things you can do, but you don’t.
Instead, you hold your breathe and send it off with a backpack filled with sandwiches and a change of underwear.
Look, there it goes.
Isn’t it cute?