Don’t bore yourself with your own writing

Publisher’s Weekly recently published 5 Writing Tips by Lydia Millet, an accomplished novelist. I really liked the precept that if you’re slogging through something and it bores even you, you ought to back off and take a new direction.

This describes me to a T when I’m working on something and I know what the next interesting part is, but I don’t know how to get there. For some reason I feel like I have to connect the dots, so I spend seemingly endless hours “writing through” a desert of mundane detail, simply trying to get a character to that next good part. I still have to remind myself that I just don’t have to. Just drop it and write the interesting part. As Elmore Leonard explained, “I leave out the boring parts that people tend to skip.

But it’s not just the reader; Millet says the problem is that you, the writer are bored with the passage. She takes what can even be called a compassionate stance:

If you find yourself on autopilot, halt. Delete-delete-delete, all the way back to the very line where last you cared. You, at least, should never have to wait to get to the good part.

PS Sorry about the blockquote font size. We can’t change it. 


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