A good day…

So, I took Natalie Goldberg’s advice this afternoon and just decided to write something for about a half an hour. I keep talking about what I want to write and that I want to write something for young adults, but, then I sit down to write and all of the ideas become quite complicated. Or, it just seems to be such a large project – a daunting project – that I decide none of the ideas are worth it. Or, that I will ever be able to finish it, so I might as well give up now.

But not today. Today, I decided that instead of saying, “I am going to start my novel about Joan of Arc which I have been wanting to do ever since I finished my thesis five years ago,” (And then totally sabotaging the process by thinking about all of the historical complexities regarding her life, that my pen becomes frozen in mid air and my mind gets all foggy and then I start thinking about how it might be time to take out the dog for a walk. ) I will focus on one part of the story. Just one part and see what emerges. It doesn’t even have to end up in the novel or be anything. Just as an exercise, write about the moment when Joan meets her angelic guardians for the first time. I wrote what I could remember with all of my studying and writing – it is amazing what information I still have regarding her life and that one moment and even what it is recorded that they said to her. I created a scene and what she could have possibly felt at that moment and then ended it.

I feel like that I just crossed some great hurdle. There is still this little voice on the right hand side of my brain saying: “It isn’t historically accurate,” “you have too many anachronisms,” “how do you know how she felt” and “this has been done a billion times, write about someone else.” But, I ignored these thoughts and wrote anyway. Today, is a good day.

About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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