It took me two solid years to write this book. This book is a part of me. I am still in love with the characters and the world I’ve created and I know a series has been born. Yet, I can’t seem to silence the nagging voices beckoning me to edit, restructure, and refocus the whole darn thing.
I try to work on new projects, I outline, brainstorm and whatnot…but those nagging voices won’t let me move on.
And so I postulate, procrastinate, and pontificate. Could my story still need work and if so, does that mean the first draft must be scrapped altogether?
Either way, it’s painfully clear that something must be done in order for me to move forward and sitting here wondering is surely not helping. The time for action is always now. It’s like my father always says, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.”
So I think maybe I will rework the outline, call a friend for support, or make another cup of coffee before acknowledging the daunting reality I’m facing. But the snow is blowing around like a frozen desert sandstorm and the dog needs to go outside. So I bundle up and brave the elements and the world just keeps on spinning.
It’s cold in the northeast, but that’s certainly not news. Merlin (my dog) is interested in frolicking a bit before getting down to business and that gives me some time to admire the snow covered trees in the woods behind my house as they creak with each powerful gust of wind.
Sounding as if the bark is screaming, the trees are painfully weathering the storm. But they don’t break, not entirely. A dead branch falls here, a snapping twig there, and they seem to be reaching even higher than before. A towering pine faces the wind as if to say, “Let’s dance.” And then it hits me…the wind isn’t trying to destroy these trees at all; it’s only doing the job of making them stronger.
Likewise, needing to edit this draft does not mean I’m going to destroy my story. It merely signifies that a stronger one is ready to be carved from the marble before me. The wind edits the forest by ripping dead branches from the trees so they can flourish in the spring. And I realize that I must edit like the wind, pulling back the dead weight, so the words can thrive.
Once again, life and writing seem to be intermingling teaching me lessons. Not everything we lose is a loss and sometimes it’s necessary for growth.
How do you approach the editing process? Do you take it as personally as I do or are you able to separate yourself from the creation and cut away?