Monday, May 23, 2011

Gloomy Monday Reflections

It's cool and rainy and dark here. Thunder claps outside between the pitter patter of raindrops. I've lugged my tomato plants in to protect them from the cold yet again (the benefits of container gardening). All I want to do is cuddle up in a blanket and read. And most of all, I'm reminded of what just happened in Missouri, what they're still recovering from in Alabama, etc. Weather is, to me, one of the scariest forces out there, being completely out of our control. But I will take my gloomy Monday with gratitude today, and keep those with a disastrous Monday in my heart.

Please note that today is the LAST DAY to bid on my auction item at All4Alabama! I am already in awe of the extremely generous bids thus far. Thank you, thank you.

I'm supposed to start editing a project today. I don't want to. I never want to. In fact, most of the time, I don't want to work to improve my writing. It would be easier to let the stories stay in my head, where they are perfect, unmarred by my clumsy words.

It's funny, how I can be so resistant to doing something I claim to love. It is so very easy to let that book go untouched, to find other things to fill my time with, to do as little as possible in the hopes for maximum results.

When I was little, I had dreams of doing Big Things like any other kid. One of my biggest dreams? Yes, I will admit I wanted to be a writer. For a long time it was a lofty dream, because let's face it—dreaming is far easier than becoming. To actually become a writer is a long, hard road. Dreaming about how awesome my stories would be and how famous I'd be and how much money I'd make was much, much more fun. And easy.

But desires are funny things. We humans tend to gravitate towards them, obsess over them, make them happen. We are powerful little creatures! We find a way. We persevere. And if we really, really want to become something (for better or worse), we do.

When I decided, once and for all, that I would be a writer, I didn't magically transform into one. Word by word, day by trying day, I became one by doing what writers are supposed to do. Whether is was fun or not. Whether I was good at it or not. Because I've learned that the only way to become want you want to be is to DO what will get you there.

And so I will start my edits today. I may grumble as I go, but I will do it, because that's what a writer does.


  1. I love this: It would be easier to let the stories stay in my head, where they are perfect, unmarred by my clumsy words.

    It sums up my feelings perfectly! And yet, somehow I still keep trying to get them out.

  2. I completely agree. I've been putting off working on my WIP for fear of messing it up. But if you can attack those edits, I can get this beast finished!

    Thanks for the motivation :)

  3. I hear ya. The worst part for me is knowing all the mistakes I've made in the past and not being totally sure I won't make them again.

  4. What a great post. I like editing most of the time, but the first major edit right after you finish a book is the hardest for me to get into. Once I start fixing things though, and making them better I fall in love with my story all over again.

    Most of the time... ;)

    Good luck with your edits! :)

  5. Ditto what Brenda said. That's the thing, isn't it: the only place a perfect book exists is in our heads. And yet we all try so hard to make it come out on page. And practice makes perfect -- or as close to it as we'll ever get. ;)

    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Love the candor in this post -- I'm not a fan of editing, either. I find it tedious and dull, though 100% necessary. Glad to see I'm not alone. ;-)

  7. I'm not big on editing either; I actually started a draft for my second manuscript before I finished editing the first one. I told myself it was because I had all these ideas that I wanted to write down before I forgot them. The real reason is because I was trying to avoid the revision process. But back to revising I go....:)

  8. I learned so much from revising my first MS... including that I needed a little distance (but not too much) before digging back in. :) So, I think spending some time making your tomato plants happy first was a good call.

    And thank you so much for your generosity in helping those devastated by the recent tornadoes. I'm a Southern girl with tons of friends from Alabama, and the devastation is heartbreaking. Thank you for donating your gifts to help those sweet folks who are hurting. *teary*

  9. I have a good friend from Joplin who is luckily now NOT living in Joplin and who's family was spared. So many were not.

    Your auction item is now listed at 325! Way to do your part, and i hear you on the whole stay-in-my-head-where-you-are-perfect thing. I'm still trying to get away from that mindset.

  10. Funny, but I might actually love editing more than writing. I love making something BETTER. I love seeing it change.

    I dreamed of being a writer for years, too. But I dreamed of the work--always the work. Sitting in front of the typewriter (it was electric by the time I was a teenager), or working with actors on a play. I wrote my first play when I was six, and I tried desperately to cast it with siblings and cousins. The play was terrible (though I still own my typed copy of it), but it was the act of putting it on, of developing the script, of revising, that really blessed me.

    What I dread is the complete rewrite, when I'm 16 chapters in and I realize I've gone in the wrong direction. I did that twice with novel number 2--stopping halfway through and starting over from scratch, saving only a handful of pages or scenes. I'm facing it now with novel #4, so I've left it in favor of novel #1, which, after two days of revising, is pretty close to being exactly what I want (after 25 or so revisions).

    I so appreciate your willingness to talk about what bothers you, not just how you're great and perfect and writing is always easy. I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates it.

  11. Words have always been so easy for me that as a kid, almost all the way through college, I could turn in a first draft and get an A. Now that I'm really trying to tell good stories, I spend a lot of time agonizing over the revisions. I don't love it, but it's so obviously crucial that I've gotten past kvetching about it, too.

  12. Natalie, your perseverance inspires me.

    Sorry to hear about the rainy weather and thunderstorms. I should be able to commiserate in a day or two; I think we're getting a typhoon this week.

  13. Yes, it's a process. I'mm writing my 4th first draft, and it's miles above where I started. Especially Book II. I like to pretend Book 2 doesn't exist.