19 Comments
Jun 25, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

omg, "playing the end": this so hits home for me right now. i've been trying to wrap up my latest novel, because i have so many other pressing deadlines coming down the pipe this summer, and i'm so close, i know the last scene, and i keep fooling myself, "only one more week" blah blah blah—but the thing is, it doesn't matter how close you are, you still have to write it with care. still be open to surprises. i kept pushing back my internal deadline to the point i hated myself. only recently realized i needed to accept it would take longer if it's going to be done right. so now i'm toggling a little between projects—so be it. but releasing that pressure has helped enormously.

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How timely! On my walk this morning, it seemed everyone in Paris was out running or jogging. Lean and sleek. I started saying unkind things to myself about not liking jogging. I’ve just told that voice to go take a hike (hikes are much more fun!)

And pacing--what a lovely description and so true. Today I wrote about 500 words then stopped, walked home, having a little break, and I’ll still write 500 more words this afternoon!! Bon courage everyone!

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“I should have known” ... the prompt for my day’s journaling at my dining room table. Not Paris. Not after a concerted physically satisfying walk/run/shuffle. Only after reading these thoughts about pacing do I realize that “I should have known” the real satisfaction comes from writing while being me, not anyone or any place else.

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Perfect! Thank you for reminding me to slow down and allow the discovery to surprise me rather than forcing the words to the end.

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Stunned to have the source of my recent resistance given such a perfect name and explanation: "Playing the end." I'm in the home stretch of my WIP and the end is within reach. I don't want to have to muddle through these last few miles; I crave the finish line. Fingers buckling, I'm in active rebellion against what needs to be done. But I have to slow down and hit the necessary beats and let the pace be what it is. Thank you!

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Love this; inner metronome, pacing, gentleness. So what I needed to hear today!

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Ooh, I love pace as a subject in talking about writing. Pacing is an issue I point out a lot as an editor. That is a great way to get back inside a piece when you're editing or rewriting, to think about pacing, and to work on introducing new rhythms and breaking up repetitive patterns.

I love the comment about "playing the end" too. We used to call that telegraphing in acting class. And people do it in writing too. It's not always bad, like foreshadowing can be very cool, but only if you're aware of it, and in control of what you're doing. Kudos!

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Completely agree. Have trusted my internal "place" and pace, I think, for quite awhile and the muscles, brain, and writing seem to like it!

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"embarrassingly slow—as in walkers passed me" -- Love this, Julie and Jamie, thank you! I just recommended Vladimir to a friend yesterday!

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Damn I want to bottle this letter up and keep it on me at all times. “Pace” has been such a theme over the past two years of writing my memoir drafts. Perfect timing, as always.

Also I need to read/see this play! Amazing.

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This really resonated with me. I seem to be "playing to the end" a lot.

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This is really on purpose. I was thinking about this lately. Last year, during my first 1000 words, I was running so fast and it was good though. This year, I may wrote less words, but I try to listen more to my body. Last april, I broke accidentally my wrist and had cast for 35 days, I did everything with my left hand, type into my pc, kept teaching from my remote to my students and I was happy no matter the pain. As I like journaling almost daily, I was writing in my head and sometimes during the day, I recorded into my phone. As I went back writing with my roller pen and my right hand, step by step, I became aware of new potentials, new little changes. I pause more often to enjoy the light of June, the blue sky, sipping a glass of white wine in the balcony and figure out scenes, dialogues, then took short notes and then I type them. Sometimes, I make myself odd questions about the main character and how she is confronted with truth/lies big or little ones. Shaping her as a character true to me sounds a challenge. So I pause often and go back to reading. My writing project is here with me, since last year when I decided to start it. My fingers step by step will take me somewhere. I have faith no matter my ups and downs. Cheers to All :)

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"Playing the end" is beautifully put. I think this will be game-changing for me. I now have a name for the desperate novel-in-progress feeling that I need to know how this book turns out but I can't know how it turns out because I'm the one writing it. Thank you!

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This is a great perspective, that really resonates with me. Thanks for the insight!

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I was out late late night and had a packed day full of people I love, bike rides, neighborhood parkway parties and too much sun. As I sat down at 10 PM to get my words in, under the wire, I read this perfect letter, exhaled, and sank into the scene instead of thinking about finishing it. The little shake-up I needed to get back to morning writing tomorrow.

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wow!! i love this. so timely also because i've been in such a spiral about my own running.

"natural internal meter" what a concept, what a guardrail, what an invitation

thank you!

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