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‘No big deal’: Surviving the titanic task of writing a novel

"Untitled" ("Perfectionist") by Sarah Hobbs
Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago
“Untitled” (“Perfectionist”) by Sarah Hobbs

Writing a novel is a ridiculous task.

If we can stop and recognize that fact every once in a while, we can ease our burden.

Yes, nose to the grindstone for much of the time, scouring for the profound, the heartening, the heart-rending, the enlightening, but this effort is taxing on the constitution. We have to stop from time to time, set the keyboard on end, and take a deep breath.

In these moments (in the colossal time frame of novel writing, moments may be weeks), we step back and try to assume the attitude that Buddhist writer Pema Chodron calls “no big deal.” Easier said than done.

Read the entire article at A View from the Loft.

Ben Obler is the author of the novel “Javascotia.” He lives and writes in St. Paul and will present at the Loft’s Novel-Writing Conference in November.

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