“I’ve been here before
I’ll be back for more
Maybe this time I can stay
~Melinda Doolittle, “Coming Back To You”
Before I start writing about the actual topic of this entry, can I just take a moment to squee over last night’s American Idol finale? Or, more to the point, one particular performance that still has people talking today – the tribute to Simon Cowell, featuring seven out of eight previous winners and many more of everyone’s favorite finalists from over the years. I’ve always hoped Idol would do something like that, and while I wish they would have given more airtime to the former contestants instead of having so many guest stars, I absolutely LOVED the one performance we did get. There was something really special about seeing so many of them on stage at the same time, all united “together as one” in a song that was, at least for me, the highlight of the whole show. It made my Idol-loving heart happy, which is why I’m so glad to be using a song of Melinda’s for this entry.
In a way, I think the music and publishing industries are quite similar. They each require passion and dedication, hard work and an outlook that’s both open and optimistic. And they’re both cyclical in nature, with the beat – or the writing process – always going on and on. I was reminded of this the other day when an idea for With a Little Bit of Luck popped into my head. I was sitting at my desk and writing (shocker, yes?), when all of a sudden a burst inspiration hit me for something that I just needed to add to my manuscript. It didn’t matter that I finished writing it in February. It didn’t matter that it’s already been through four rounds of edits and I’ve been querying agents for just about two months now. All that mattered was that I had to include this idea, this sentence, in the last chapter. It was something I had touched on throughout the book and something that I just instincively knew would make the ending stronger. And, reading over the final chapter, I knew exactly where I wanted to put the sentence. It was a chance for me to show another way that my main character, Emily, had grown over the course of her journey … so even though the novel’s last paragraph has been written for months (seriously, the idea for it popped into my head way before I got to that point in my work), I was okay with going back and slipping this sentence in. I was okay with it because I knew it was best for Emily, best for the lessons she had learned, and best for the book.
I’ve always had trouble being the “go with the flow” type. I know it’s good to let that ease and flexibility play a role, but working on this novel has shown me that more than any other experience I’ve ever had. Sometimes it’s not only alright, but beneficial, to stray away from that straight line that goes from point A to point B. Sometimes it’s that twist in the road that makes it worth traveling. Sometimes we just have to listen to that burst of inspiration, even if it takes that straight line and bends it into a circle. Now, I’m well aware that adding a sentence to the end of my novel isn’t exactly breaking some set-in-stone mold, and I’m also of the genuine belief that with writing, the editing process never ends. There’s always going to be something to change, something that could be added. There will always be room to grow and develop, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. Beautiful, in fact. Because really, how can we move forward in our careers and our lives if we’re determined to stand still and not act on that burst of inspiration when it hits?
I know, I know. Too much introspection as a result of one sentence. Twenty-three words. But the fact that I was so excited to add them to my manuscript? To me, that’s telling. It was a reminder to me yet again how much I love this, how determined I am to keep working as hard as I can until it’s my career. I’m excited by the idea of this journey being one that constantly helps me grow. I’m excited to see what’s waiting down the road. I’m excited to keep coming back for more.
Are you? Have you ever had a similar experience? And what did you think of the Idol finale?