The Books I Am Not Writing

“…my literary career has not even begun yet. The plots for five novellas and two novels are languishing in my head. One of the novels was conceived so long ago that several of the characters have already grown old and out of date even before they had a chance to take form on paper. There is an entire army of people in my head begging to get out and just waiting for my command.”  -Anton Chekhov

This was my main insight while on the retreat, and I’m sorry to have to put it to you so bluntly. Writing for 15 minutes here and there, scribbling in the early mornings before rushing off to my teaching job — these things have kept me alive as a writer, but only just barely. I need more time.

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0 replies
  1. Carolynne Harris
    Carolynne Harris says:

    As my aunt Lorraine told me in 1969 when I was so young and didn’t get it exactly “Everything is on schedule.” Good quote from Chekhov. You have characters in your head but you are very capable of writing about them. I have lots of people in my head too, but I don’t want to write about them. They could sue me as I wouldn’t be good enough to disguise them.

    Gell was on schedule, you learned and thrived and grew to a new level of what you need to do; win the lottery, move to a country where you get total health care coverage or hurry up and get older so you can retire. Not very good choices.

    Maybe your new book will become famous for the “killing” and you will be on your
    way. And tomorrow I’m on my way to Sister Giant. Love, Carolynne

    • awritersalchemy
      awritersalchemy says:

      Carolynne, you remind me of that old saying about how our lives would improve if we would follow the advice we give others. It’s the old argument with reality…and the timely (!) reminder that all the time any of us ever has is now. I will keep pecking away at it, I promise.


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