Daily Archives: October 24, 2011


There are some spooky things happening.

First of all, my little sweet three year old peed on the sidewalk. I said, why? He said, to make our house haunted.

Our house is SOOOOOOOOOOO haunted.

Second of all, my brother who reads this blog and it always shocks me when he says, so you’re depressed about adverbs? because I never expect anyone in my family to read this and actually feel very very self conscious when I find out they do, he said, you complain a lot about your novel on your blog.

I said, i do? I complain?

And he said, sort of.

Then he said, I  liked that post about paying your mortgage is motivation to write.

I said, Oh you did? It was pretty easy to write.

And he said, yeah. that was one of my favorite entries you’ve done.

And I said, thanks so much.*

Third of all, Marilynne Robinson came and spoke at BYU. I have written about her before on this blog. Mainly to give myself comfort because she has twenty four years between two of her books and that made me feel happy. Anyway, she was at BYU and she did a beautiful reading and then she answered questions.

One of the questions was, how many times do you revise your books?

And she said, i never revise.

The room fell silent.

She said, I never leave a sentence until I feel like it’s done.

Now I have read about this. I have read that this pulitzer prize winning author doesn’t revise. I just didn’t think it was really true. And since I heard her say this from her own mouth, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

The writing process has three steps:

1. Prewriting.

2. Drafting.

3. Revision.

We always talk about how most serious writers spend the majority of their time in the revision phase. That’s when you take the bones of the book and make them fleshy. that’s when you refine your characters and make them  real. It’s when you turn your crappy draft into a real book. It’s  a magical time in a lot of ways.

But then you have Ms. Robinson.

My thoughts are these: she only does one draft. But she must must must spend so much time in prewriting. Like a crazy amount of time. Even if she’s a genius, she’d have to have the big picture mapped out in her head before she starts if she’s going to be able to lay the sentences down on the paper and never come back to them, right? To write and then be done with the book? What do you think?

Fourth of all, Ally Condie came and spoke to my class. I have much to say about Ally and how much I love her. I won’t do it here right now because she deserves a post on her own but I do love her. After she spoke, my students said how inspired they were. How she made them feel like maybe they could really do it. Maybe they could finish a book and get published. Ally juggles so much and still maintains this incredible sense of calm.  She also knows big words and uses them flawlessly in sentences which means they are part of her everyday vocabulary which means she is smart and I’m not so smart. Her first book MATCHED was named one of YALSA’S Teens Top Ten Books and her second book CROSSED just got a beautiful starred review from Kirkus and comes out November 1st. Yay.

Fifth of all, I have some other things I wanted to talk about in relation to Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s discussion but I’ll save it for next week. Until then, here’s an assignment: every day, before you go to bed, do an accounting of your hours. how much time did you spend writing? How much time did you spend playing with your kids? How much time did you spend cleaning? how much time did you spend at your day job? How much time on TV? How much time exercising, etc. Keep track for just a week .

Sixth of all, I’m reading Carol’s DD. It’s scary. It’s scary good. that’s all I’ll say for now.

And finally, seventh of all, it’s two thirty in the morning. I feel so writerly.

Sorry so long.

The end.

*Thanks Chris Crowe.


Filed under Ann Dee