Today’s quote comes to us from my friend, fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts classmate Kari Baumbach. Kari is an extraordinary writer whose focus is historical fiction. When I asked Kari what sustains quote sustains and buoys her as a writer when she wants to give up, this is what she said:
“I do have a favorite quote these days. I put it on a post-it note on my computer:
“Judging the work is not your job. Understanding it is.”
“It comes from an essay titled: “What Stories Teach Their Writers: The Purpose and Practice of Revision”, in the book CREATING FICTION, edited by Julie Checkoway. I found the quote during a block six months after graduation (from VCFA). It has really helped me quiet my brain when I start questioning whether the new piece I’m working on is any good, makes any sense, or is every going to come together. It also puts my brain in this mode of plunging deeply into the story.
“Here is the whole quote:
“It’s helpful, and true, also, to think of the draft you have as containing both what it is and what it will be, just as a piece of marble is said to contain the sculpture within it already . . . Judging it is not your job. Understanding it is.”
“It really resonates with me when it comes to writing that first shitty draft.”
So true. So very true. Thank you, Kari.