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“Keep your head down and just WRITE”… or “How to empty your water pitcher”

Grapes through a water pitcher

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

I’ve been following that first bit of advice for the past four weeks. It’s been working, up to a point, but I must admit that all work and no play makes Jane a dull… and resentful… girl. Sheridan’s not immune either. Hence, the second quote.

I recently pitched the first novel I had ever written. To my amazement, I not only had a request for 100 pages from an editor, but also a request for a full from an agent.

Sounds great, right? It IS great. No question there.

The problem is that, as I said, it’s the FIRST novel I ever wrote. It’s been sitting in my computer for well over a year, and during that time, I’ve been focusing on developing my craft. The craft of writing.

I’ve attended conferences, listened to lectures, and taken classes. I’ve studied deep point-of-viewcharacterization, the hero and heroine archetypes, creating hooks, writing strong opening chapters, the hero’s journey, and the use of dialogue tags. In doing all of this, I’ve developed confidence and my voice has become stronger. Going through this process has made my writing better than it was when I wrote my first full-length manuscript, and that’s the crux of my problem.

Now, as I review my work and prepare to send it in, I see many things I want to improve. There are parts of my manuscript I love, and parts that make me cringe… I mean, what was I thinking? I want to send in the BEST that I can currently produce, so it needs to be polished.

I’ve been editing furiously, and my critique partners, a beautiful, amazing, talented group of women, have been supporting me. But even with all of the support I’ve been getting, I was beginning to burn out. I kept pouring water out of my water pitcher of creativity and inspiration, but I wasn’t taking time to refill it.

Then came last night’s game of laser tag at Laser Storm. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I finally did something to refill my pitcher. I could feel my creativity and energy flowing back into me.

After all, summer only comes once a year, and kids grow up fast, right? I can’t just sit and write. I also need to go EXPERIENCE some things.

Although it might take a me couple extra days to finish, at least my family and I will be sane at the end of my rewrite.

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