“Just wait and see
Maybe I’ll write like Twain wrote
Maybe I’ll paint like Van Gogh
Cure the common cold, I don’t know
But I’m ready to start, cause I know in my heart
I wanna do somethin’ that matters, say somethin’ different
Somethin’ that sets the whole world on its ear.”
~Kristin Chenoweth, “I Was Here”
See that? Those pictures up there? They are proof that, as of an hour and a half ago, I am officially finished with the third (aka the never-ever-ever-ending) round of revisions for this book. It took about twice as long as expected, but in retrospect, I think that’s actually a good thing, because it means each page, each paragraph, and each sentence got the kind of undivided attention necessary to trim down a manuscript by as much as mine needed to be. Is the process over? No. Is the book finished? Not yet. But there’s finally a light at the end of this very long editing tunnel, and that’s beyond exhilarating. There have been times recently when the whole thing has felt so exasperating – and pretty much impossible to ever complete – but now … now there’s a rejuvenation that gives an entirely different kind of energy and adrenaline to the project.
And to me, too. These past couple weeks, I’ve wanted nothing more than to take a break from editing and focus on writing again – the pure, giddy, fills-you-up rush of joy that comes from starting a new manuscript. With four different ideas floating through my thoughts, it was difficult at times to concentrate on the idea that’s already blossomed from a seed into its own entity. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in this book whole-heartedly. The journey Sofie takes in it is one I’m proud to have been a part of and gone along on, and I am so excited about how much she grows and learns. And not just her, but all of the characters. It’s been thirteen months now since I wrote the first word of the first part of their story, and it’s such a cool feeling to compare where they are now to where they began. Even cooler? Knowing that this isn’t the end for them. It’s a beginning. There are so many more pages to fill. I think that’s precisely why I’ve been so restless to move on. Those new pages and the words that will splash across them are poking at my brainwaves, begging to burst out. But, much like life, writing and storytelling goes one step at a time. I owe it to these characters – who, corny as it may sound, have truly become like friends – to finish this part of their journey before beginning the next.
Does it sound ridiculous to say that this round of revisions has somehow made me fall in love with the story, with writing, all over again? Maybe so, considering what an arduous task it’s been. There are sentences, paragraphs, whole exchanges that I have memorized by this point. It doesn’t have that new giddiness to it anymore, but there’s a different kind of giddiness now, the kind that comes from seeing how much tighter the book has become. Edits may seem to last forever sometimes, but they’re important. So important. The book I have is a stronger one than what I started off with in July. When I finish the last round of revisions, it’ll be stronger then than it is now. That’s the nature of the process – and even though we hear it time and again from authors, agents, and editors, experiencing it for yourself really is a whole different ballgame. It’s fascinating to watch the story evolve and inspiring to realize how much you’ve learned in the process. That’s one of the coolest things about being a writer – even for someone unpublished, it’s easy to see that the learning never ends. It only grows exponentially. How awesome is that?
Tally for now = 48,152 words / 142 pages deleted.
I think that deserves tomorrow off as a reward.
But, and I truly mean this, I’m excited to dive back in for the fourth and (hopefully) final round of revisions. Sure, it’ll probably go back to feeling arduous at some point, but whenever that happens, I’ll remind myself of how invigorating this process can be and what happiness it’s infused into my life. I’ll listen to Kristin’s song, this song that resonated from the first time its lyrics hit my ears, and approach the rest of the edits like I try to approach everything: with determination and dedication. Because, with all my heart, I wanna do somethin’ that matters.