Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Writing Journey: Introspection

Another page in the journey.  Editing is such a big thing; you can get lost in it. Let me back up just a bit.  I am trying to sort out dozens of writing thoughts in my mind, and it makes me nervous. 

I read writer's blogs...many writer's blogs, gleaning tips and ideas, information, and urls of other writer's blogs.  Originally in denial of things I read, like that I would come to HATE my manuscript <laughing> and right now I do.

Trying to edit this book has turned into a challenge unlike any other I have faced.  And it has brought much introspection.  I have spent two months working over this book, and in the process have added nearly 5,000 words (originally unintended but felt were necessary). And will possibly slice out another 5,000 words before I am done.  Something about that is just plain illogical.

I have fussed and fidgeted with word order, sentence structure, sliced out "ly" words, struggled with commas (my Achilles heel), stressed over subjects, prepositions, verb tenses, pronoun confusion, transitional errors, redundancy of words, not to mention changing the names of characters...what a nightmare that is. I am now on a first name basis with Merriam Webster and the Grammar Girl.  Okay, that last line was a big lie, but I remind you--I do write fiction. <smile>  I had to fess'up. We all know that Mr. Webster is dead.  And the Grammar girl doesn't know me from Adam.

I have rewritten not just the first chapter, but the first three, trying to minimize back-story until later in the book.  I read it out loud, printed it out so I could read the words on paper in a different location. 

All the while,  feeling a sense of urgency eating at me, the need to get it done, nipping at my heels.

Everything involved with this process has come down to this:  Am I afraid to let go of it?  Afraid to discover that the story is not good, afraid to find that my characters fail to reach the reader, that the story is predictable, or feels too concocted? 


Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote a marvelous book, "Women Who Run With the Wolves".  In it, she tells of the repression of the wild inner woman. It is an excellent write about what has happened over centuries causing women to become so repressed, our cultures, our religions, for example. 

One thing I read in her book came to me as a shout. You know that inner voice that narrates our lives, that speaks our consciences, that reads the written word to us?  My inner voice actually shouted when it read one sentence.  And it kept repeating it to me.  The gist (this is not a direct quote) is that always feeling as though our work is not good enough to show to others, not good enough to call "finished", is a symptom of the repression of the wild, creative, inner-spirit, that is--among other things, a born storyteller, a writer of tales, a maker of myths.

But...I have learned a lot about me.  I do have self-restraint.  This part of writing is "zero" fun.  But I will not allow myself to delve deeply into the creation of another story until it is done. I write notes, ideas, descriptions, but that is about it.  Other than working 40+ hours a week  and my brief nightly rounds to here (Blogger), Wordpress, Twitter, and facebook, it is all editing.

So...there is good reason to wrap it up and let go.  My family is waiting, friends are waiting...and other stories are waiting to be told...and (dang!) eventually be edited ;-)

I don't know where other writers (who might read this) are with their journeys, but I thought I would share this for anyone who has not yet experienced this filling of self-doubt, this overwhelming feeling of losing your way. It is all new, a learning experience, an opportunity, a blessing.   Just keep on keeping on.