I love my job. Writing stories and articles and study books delights and excites me.
Don’t you hate when people say something good and then ruin it with a but?
I like your hair, but…it looks like you’re stuck in the 80s
Your dog is so pretty, but…he has no manners at all.
You know what I’m talking about. People do this all the time. WE do this several times during any conversation.
Because the truth of the matter is ugly hard to swallow unimaginable depressing.
Nothing in life is without its flaws and drawbacks.
(Sorry, honey. I know I tell you and everyone else that you’re perfect, but that’s just not the case. You’re perfect in my eyes only…and when you don’t leave the toilet seat up.)
I’m a full-time, professional author. To earn a paycheck, I substitute teach at the local middle and high schools.
I enjoy teaching. I believe it’s one of my secondary strengths (which is why I write Bible study books and teach women and teenagers at my church).
But writing is my soul food.
When I’m in the groove, churning words directly from my heart and mind onto paper (or a computer screen), it’s Heaven-on-Earth.
Why? Because I believe I was created to do this “writing thing.”
What I Love
I love when I get a new idea. It sparkles and gleams. Every cast of light reveals another dimension.
I enjoy sketching out the plot. I do this with a ton of “what if” questions. And I only hammer in the major plot points before I begin to write. I like to give my characters just enough rope to jerk them into an uncomfortable position.
I adore setting up the scenes in Scrivener, color coding them so I can keep track of things like narrator or timeline.
I don’t even fear the blank page.
I crank out the first scene. I don’t sweat it too much. It will get rewritten more than any other scene in the novel. I accept this and pound out the words.
I bite my lip as I write the last scene. Where do I think my characters will end up? How do I end this?
Believe me, I come up with some incredible last lines.
Then they get edited out of the final manuscript.
I write. There’s no fear of blank screens and blinking cursors.
If I’m not “feeling” a scene, I skip to where my characters are begging to go. I can fill in the blanks later. In fact, those blanks might be better scenes if I don’t force them when I’m not emotionally engaged in writing them.
The whole fast draft and first draft process makes me feel euphoric.
Not that I Hate This
Okay, actually, I pretty much despise everything that comes after writing the first draft of a novel.
As for shorter projects, I don’t mind making several editing passes and polishing the manuscript to a shine. I can do it in relatively the same amount of hours I invested in creating the original draft.
Novels? Not so much.
There’s no way to comb through 70,000 plus words in three weeks (the average time it takes me to write that at the rate of 1,000 words per hour).
And every manuscript needs multiple “passes” before it’s ready to be seen by someone I want to buy it.
I think I’ve written about my process before here and here, so I’m not going to bore you with those details again.
The problem is that the words start to all sound the same after my sixth pass through a manuscript. I can’t discern what works and what doesn’t.
I’m done. I hate this stupid thing. Can I throw it away now?
Some writers talk about coming to love their stories the more they work on it. I get there after the publisher’s editor takes a fine tooth comb to it, pointing out all the weak points and helping me strengthen them.
But while I’m working on the pre-published manuscript? I come to despise it.
Sometimes, when I pick it up months later (on a break from my most recent revision nightmare), I decide it’s not such a bad story. That character is pretty witty. That fight scene gives me palpitations.
But when I’m in the middle of trying to polish it, hoping to convince a publisher to take a risk on me?
I get to the point where I can’t stand the sight of it.
Why would anyone want this if you hate it so much?
Who cares? I just want to get it out of my sight.
What things do you love about your job? What makes you groan with dread?
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