Sunday, 5 December 2010

Driving in the Darkness

It's dark when I drive home from the university. I use the motorway for some of the way, then drop down through twisting country lanes on the back way to my house. The headlights may be on full but they only show a short distance ahead, so I have to trust that I'm going the right direction - I can't tell on these winding roads and there are no signposts or other markers, just hedges to either side.

It seemed like a good metaphor for writing a novel. However much we may plan the book before hand, we're still writing into the darkness, only able to see a short distance in front of us at any one moment. We write, and we write, trusting that we will make it to our destination even though we can't see clearly where we are going.

Alan Bennett wrote in his diaries, "We don't know what we're writing until we've written it." We just have to follow the lights and carry on writing until we're home.

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