I realize this is not a proper sentence, nor a set of directions just anyone would fully grasp the deeper meaning of. Yet I do believe a writer – beginner or experienced will completely understand what I’m trying to say.
Now I am not in any way going to pretend I know enough to teach or guide or even imply I can help you write. But I can share what I’ve experienced and if it can help you on your journey to become a better writer, well then I am glad.
These past two months have been full of emotion. Changing editors was nerve racking. Am I doing the right thing? Dare I jump off the cliff alone? How much money do I invest in myself? Doubt. Doubt. Jump. Joy! Yes, joy, acknowledging the feeling that I must do something, but what is the right thing to do? Once you make the decision and you do jump, or just take one step – you are moving forward and I think that is very important in the writing process. Keep moving even if your moving away from what you’ve just written.
Wait, what did she say? Yes. Step away from the page – the screen – the pen – the whatever you use to put thoughts down upon.
Okay, allow me to take a step backwards for a minute. I have learned SO much from having an editor who makes me dive into myself – she questions, challenges, points out, highlights, and pulls from me better stuff than I gave myself credit for being able to write. She also will be the first to say, no, wait, what? Did you mean to say this? Cause it comes across as that. She’s not just smart and knows the craft – but she’s honest with me. She tells me when it isn’t right and gives me tools so I can then see for myself what I need to work on.
She held my hand for the first thirty pages of critiques – now she insists I work and cultivate and really see what it is I’m writing. To do that meant, for me, I had to walk away.
For example. I reworked a chapter – took all her notes into consideration and trusted her. The chapter became ten times better. It flowed, it caught me, it made sense, it became something more than what it was. Now I will rewrite three, four, five chapters at a time, and again, walk away. I’ll do something else I enjoy, which may be a walk, watching a movie under my dogs (I have dogs who do not know, they are not lap dogs and I do not have the heart to tell them, so when I sit down to select a program, they assume I need them snuggle with . And I do.) Or recently, I’ve taken out my paints and canvas and dove into the colors, the shapes and patterns of an art I did not nurture or give time to in my life – which I regret, but you know what, I may not have even picked up the brush if I had not walked away from the key board – and that would have been an even bigger regret.
After a week or two I returned to the words, the chapters, the story and reread what I wrote. It was amazing, I could see what she had spoken about. I could feel the current and see where I needed to place rocks to change the direction of the stream or speed up the action, or add narrative instead of describe for the reader what I wanted them to see. It was a reframing to the picture I am painting in my novel – and it was better, richer and much more opulent than my first or second draft. It had matured, grown and evolved into what I know the work can be.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace