Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pushing Through, In Spurts

I'm two-thirds of the way through my third revision of After Her Death. It's been mostly minor edits, sometimes eliminating a paragraph and occasionally chopping or adding a new scene. I find I tend to over-edit though--being so merciless that I run below my word count rather than going over.

And while I do force myself to sit and rewrite, I do find that my mood directly affects the quality of my writing. There is something to that muse thing. While I don't think we should be slaves to the muse and only write when the fancy strikes us, when we catch a glimpse of it, we should grab its coattails and let it take us where it will. Especially during the first draft. It's much harder to infuse spark into a dull scene during revisions.

For me this has worked out to mean I write more slowly. A friend sent me a Myers Briggs chart the other day as a humorous aside, and one of the descriptions for the type I identify with best included the passing statement that this type works in spurts. This is very true of me.

My internal editor criticizes this as laziness. Inconsistency. Slothfulness. (Like how I worked that word in here?) Perhaps some see it that way. I'm learning to discern between a personality style and a character defect. There is a difference. Instead of viewing my inability to sit for hours on end each day and crank out a novel in 3-6 months as a moral failure, I'm learning not to compare myself with other writers. There is no one right way to write. The right way to write is the right way for YOU. Aesop's tortoise and hare tale does not apply when you consider that most of life isn't a race. Writing certainly isn't. So I'm embracing my inner hare (minus his boastful, mocking spirit of course). I'm not a marathon writer. I'm a sprinter. I have bursts of frenetic energy and then I have to rest to recharge.

While I still envy the prolific writers who faithfully pound out their 1,000 words everyday, I'm learning to be content with the way God made me. The slow, off-and-on plodding writer also finishes the race. In their own time. And thankfully, the public's desire to read books is never quenched.


  1. I know it has been a while since you posted this, but if you are still pushing through, then keep it up! You can do it!

    Have you ever worked with an outside editor? Are you looking for a publisher? What is the next step for your baby?

    And about personalities, isn't it comforting to know that you are not alone in your personality type? We are finding that to be true as we are reading "Quiet" by Susan Cain, (about introversion, not about writing styles).

    1. Yup. Still working on the edits! Thanks for asking. :) A friend who is a professional editor doing a copy edit and I am considering having a line edit done professionally, but do not have the $$ for that right now. Once I get through this last edit I think I'll begin querying agents. Woo-hoo!

      It is encouraging to find that you're not alone in your personality. Or even that we share isolated traits with various people. I think it helps explain why I click with different friends in different ways and on different levels.

      "Quiet" was a fascinating read. Especially the part about the Evangelical church. Oddly, reading that book helped me figure out that I'm not a classic introvert. I'm a small group introvert. I have to be pretty stressed to want to be completely alone. While I'm not a big fan of crowds, I love small groups--especially with my friends. I'd rather hang with a couple friends than be alone. And I'm not shy. At all. :) Just very particular about what I share. Is that an introverted trait?

      Speaking of babies--I'm super excited you might carry to term! That's great! (Unless of course you are READY NOW for Baby to appear.) :)


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