how she writes, how i write

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Kate DiCamillo is the award-winning writer of the some of the most poignant pieces of children’s literature: Because of Winn-DixieThe Tale of DespereauxThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  In researching her writing process, I discovered that her entire process is best summarized in the following quote:

“You just have to find a way to write and then rewrite, and then rewrite, and then rewrite…”

I am no stranger to this process. This very blog post has been written and deleted and rewritten and tweaked over and over again. Ideally, I tell myself, as I continue to write, the process of writing will become easier, more like nature and less like work. But she addresses this, too. “I think,” she says, “that people suffer from this delusion that if you’re supposed to do something, it’s supposed to come naturally and it’s supposed to be easy. […} If you want to make any kind of art, you have to be willing to rework it.” I want to make art. I want to understand the world around me and then share the little things, the fragments of beauty, with those around me. I can eavesdrop all I want, but I’ve learned more about the beauty of humanity through the pages of a novel than I have while standing in a line. 

On the one hand, this is a terribly depressing thought. Writing will never get easier. This process will continually choke me as I try to express myself. And yet –

I love writing. Even the painful parts of the process have a certain beauty, a certain joyous quality. I want to write. I want to make art. I want to watch the world around me and then share the little things, the fragments of beauty, with those around me. I want to write something down and then rewrite – and rewrite and rewrite – because that process, frustrating as it is, makes sense. 

Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors. Her books make me want to tell stories. And her expression of her writing process encourages me to keep writing.

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