Letting the Story Flow

There are days, like I’ve had this week, when the words come. When you have an idea of what  needs to happen and who might be doing it, and you open a scene, and you write that scene.

It feels great.

If you’re not careful, though, that evil editor is going to be hanging around saying, “Are these the right words? Is this really what needs to happen here? Will this scene connect up with the rest of the story.”

My thought for the day: It’s okay to say, “I DON’T KNOW.” Loudly. And with pride.

It’s really just another way of accepting Anne Lamott’s shitty first draft. (Or, as in my case, a second draft with lots of new material!).

There’s a reason, I think, why the words that are coming out of you feel good, even if they’re not words you’ll ultimately keep. It’s because they’re something. They’re the mess you’re making that you’re going to be able to work with later, that you’ll pull pieces out of to keep and throw away big piles of.

So let yourself enjoy the feeling. Don’t question it more than you have to, and don’t let the little worrying voice in your head tell you to stop. Do. Not. Stop.



  1. This has been happening for me the last couple weeks. I haven’t even been reading. Every spare minute I’ve been writing 🙂


  2. You convinced me. But out of curiosity, is this second draft brand new? Or are you revising your first? just wondering…


    • beckylevine says:

      It’s a very “fresh” 2nd draft. Because I realized at the end that there were two stories, not one, I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff that will belong in the other book. So I’m really writing each scene from scratch, but with a (much, I hope!) better understanding of what they should be doing.


  3. Got it. but if your name was “Joyce Hostetter” you would probably try to do the impossible and combine those two stories into one! Stories beget stories. Hmmm…looks like you should have another contest on what type of metaphor describes it when one story spawns another! Speaking of contests, I told my sister about your revision contest in order to explain the process of revision I am going through. I think it helped her to picture it…at least it helps me!


  4. Oh it does feel so good. I pine for it like a lost love. I’ve been knee deep in ISBN’s, copyright law, book jacket design, marketing, iPUb (?) conversion, and all that for my book, Out of Breath, coming out this summer. Not nearly as fun as writing which feeds the soul. Promising myself I’ll get back on the wagon next week. At the very least, a new blog post by tomorrow. Met you at East of Eden in 2009 when I was just forming my story 🙂 What are you writing now?


    • beckylevine says:

      Congrats on getting your book done & out there! And yay for getting back to writing soon. 🙂 I’m working on a YA historical, myself, as well as a couple of picture books. All fun!


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