I don’t have my novel outlined and I have to write to discover what I am doing. Like the old lady, I don’t know so well what I think until I see what I say; then I have to say it over again.
(The Habit of Being, July 21, 1948)
Writing to discover what you are doing…then having to say it over again. Isn’t it comforting to know that, even though you have no idea what you’re doing, you are not necessarily failing! Sometimes it’s easy to read a novel and think it popped out of the author’s head that way. That surely they didn’t write a chapter, sit, reread, marvel at the stupidity, strike half of it out, and repeat, over and over, until something decent emerged. Even someone like Flannery had to suffer through bad drafts.