We don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. — Virginia Woolf

Once I went to hear a panel of writers speak at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on the subject of “Youth And Aging”. Two of the writers were relatively young and two were old. The old guys were George Plimpton and Frank McCourt, and let me tell you that they were the supreme advertisement for the value of age for a writer—those guys had a million great stories.


During the Q&A, someone in the audience told Frank McCourt that they wanted to write a memoir but felt that they couldn’t remember anything. Mr. McCourt said that people often tell him that and that he, too, felt that he didn’t have enough memories to write a memoir before he began Angela’s Ashes. But, one day, he had a memory of being on a playground as a child. He told a funny story about playing on a seesaw and explained that this small, relatively mundane memory linked to others. He wrote those, and each linked to others. And, one by one, the memories came back.

A Step At A Time

Every book is written word by word, sentence by sentence, and scene by scene.

No book is written all at once. Every book is written word by word, sentence by sentence, and scene by scene. This is one of the reasons that Bookflow is designed so that you can easily make notes and reorder scenes as they come to you. Even I—who always write an outline—do not get all of my scene ideas in order. I have to be able to rearrange my outline as new thoughts and ideas connect to what I have, and present themselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the idea of a big project, be sure to remind yourself of the fact that we all have to write things one scene at a time. Don’t think about the forest. Consider each tree, and place it in the ground. Eventually, the forest will appear.