hope, humility, despair, determination, optimism

What I found under the blanket

Starting my novel revision is a start and stop process–I don’t understand how it is that one can spend everyday on novel revision. I can’t figure out what to do and where to go just yet, a feeling I experienced when I embarked on my first draft. I’m feeling…lost.

And I don’t do “lost” very well. I’m a “black and white” person–yes or no, there or here, cold or hot, happy or sad, sort of person. Nothing felt as good as it did when I figured out the structure of my novel, and saw the ending of my novel–it was then that I pummeled away at my keyboard and made steady and consistent and (mostly) joyous writing progress. At times I have to say that it was just…total…bliss, enabled by certainty of plot.

It took me years and years to even accept, and occasionally embrace the “gray” areas of living; that I could acknowledge feeling sad and happy all at once was a huge step in my personal development. Even so, in this “lost” space of initiating revision, I am looking for the parts of my novel that do feel certain: the parts that “work” that “should not be deleted,” and so on and so forth.

I do acknowledge that this feeling of “lostness” is one filled with great potential and opportunity, and even though it fills me with discomfort and uncertainty, I know I need to embrace the sensation and this space where anything is possible (versus my tendency to think that “everything is uncertain”).

There is possibility, and I will wander and explore. Yes I will.

And in the interim–I leave you with this articulate illustration, over at “Modern Conjure,” of what writing a novel can and does feel like. (And yet I still write and find it the most fulfilling thing in the world; even the worst days are amazing when I get to write).

Hope, humility, despair, determination, optimism. Fall down, get up, look forward. My novel is making me a better person.

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2 Comments

Filed under Novel, Revision, Writing

2 responses to “hope, humility, despair, determination, optimism

  1. I love what you said about finding the parts of your novel that work and shouldn’t be deleted. That alone is empowering to all writers, to know that we’ve found parts that are good and can be transplanted into a new body.

    I was telling my big brother just today how novel writing and revision has taught me a new meaning of thirst and patience!

  2. First, I LOVE your photos. They are all fantastic! As for revising, the horror, the horror! It’s SO hard to get going, but once you play around enough (get feedback from other people, think a lot, start and stop and start again), you’ll figure out what needs to be done for THIS draft. Maybe you’re someone who can revise everything in one draft, or whose first draft is already amazing, but for me, I had to revise one thing in each draft. It took me a while to figure out what this revision was going to be about, and I only know part of it now, but I’ve at least broken through the “OMG, OMG, I have NO idea what to do next” and started tinkering away. That said, I haven’t touched it for 10 days thanks for birthday festivities and the stomach flu. I think just sitting down with it for an hour or two every day, and talking to other people about it, will help you figure out what to do next. Maybe you’ve already figured it out. And so true what Stephanie says – so much of writing is about patience. I keep meaning to blog about patience.

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