I reached a milestone last week: I did an index-card outline of the next novel. I’d been sketching scenes over the last few months, a bit frustrated that they weren’t flowing together the way early drafts of my other books did. But last week I had an intuition that I was ready to outline, and with that intuition, I realized – no, remembered – that I can’t treat this book like past books. Every book is its own thing. And part of writing is discovering how it wants to be written.
I’m reminded, here, of Liz Gilbert talking about Tom Waits talking about songwriting – some songs you have to scrape together from bits of gum from the bottoms of chairs. I just, right now, came up with a codename for the new book: GRACE. I’ve been trying to name things less but this somehow feels right. Maybe it’s cause it’s 8pm and the sun just came out.
I wonder how GRACE will be written. I wonder what blocks are ahead, and what epiphanies wait inside them. I wonder how many story ideas GRACE will absorb. How many will splinter from it. I wonder when it’ll be done. I wonder who I’ll be, when it’s done.
It’s my 200th letter to you, Friend. One of these weeks I’ll catch back up again. I’ll send a Sunday letter not on a Monday night. But for now, I’m just happy to be writing.