Writing was easy when I was a kid. Lying on my bed, feet in the air, crossed at the ankles. Journal open, pen in hand. I could write 100 page novels in a day. And of course, there was my beloved child-typewriter that my older cousin bought me when I was nine. I was the present day Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott rolled into one scrawny little package.
Then, I became an adult. (cue: dark ominous music) Suddenly, I couldn’t finish a novel for my life. If it wasn’t several different voices in my head demanding it be their story I told ( Psycho music time) then it was my own critical, inner editor. I made the mistake of repeatedly revising the first few chapters over and over again. Never moving forward. Many professional authors advise that one should always finish what they start. Revise later. I’ve learned the hard way that they are correct. (At least for me. I’ll never speak for other writers)
This past year, I vowed to myself not to throw away the novel I was working on. Not to rip it up and start on a whole different story. Nor to keep revising one particular chapter because I wasn’t sure what to write in the next. I kept forcing myself forward.
I refused to give up on this novel. Not when my characters changed names, ages, personalities on me. Not when location and date changed. I just kept writing. Letting things flow out. Tons and tons of weird drafts that went in a hundred different directions. I kept the faith that things would come together.
As I posted on September 21st, I finished what I am considering the first TRUE draft of my novel. I call it, “true”- because, finally the weird mix of ideas came together to form the story that wanted to be told.
This week I began the actual second draft. Instead of pasting and copying, I am typing it out. Naturally, this adds a great deal of time and effort. But it really forces me to study the work: every word, every paragraph.
As of now, Sunday morning, I am on page 50.
My goal is to write ten pages a day this week and hit 120 pages by next Sunday.
The thing I am happiest about is my joy of writing has returned three-fold. I fought through the blah stages. The-I-Want-To-Tear-Out-My-Hair stages. I came full circle.
It’s a very nice stage to be in.