“Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.”
~Henry Miller

Lately, I have:

* Finished the first – and most major – round of edits on WATERCOLORS. Actually, let’s say that again and add in some more excitement. As of yesterday, the second draft of this book is officially complete!! Whoohoo!! The story is 16,000 words shorter, but as is so often the case with writing, it’s also reminded me that less can be more. The revision process has been entirely different this time around. Instead of my finger taking up permanent residence on the ‘delete’ key, I’ve actually gotten to add a good amount to the manuscript. Before I started, it was a bit daunting. I knew there were so many things to change, so many things to rewrite or rework, and I wasn’t sure how to approach the task. But once I sat back down at my desk and opened the Word document? It was instant adrenaline and excitement. For the first time, I can honestly say that editing has been a totally joy-filled experience. It was such fun to watch the story grow – even as it shrunk – before my eyes. Being unsure about some points as I drafted was tough. Knowing how I wanted to strengthen them during revisions was inspiring. We always say that each writing journey is unique, and this was such a great lesson in that. Never would I have thought that I’d enjoy editing more than drafting – and maybe this will be the only time it happens – but I am grateful for taking another path this time, because it’s helped me see new things.

* Spent the day in NYC with a wonderful group of friends, including my kindred spirit in writing. Words can’t express how much I was looking forward to this day, and even though it went by way too quickly, I had a blast. There’s nothing quite like getting to spend time with people in person when you normally have to rely on the phone, computer, and mailbox for contact. Times Square, Mister Softee, Rockefeller Plaza, Simon & Schuster (because it’s a rule that if writing sparked your friendship, you must take a picture outside that building), Vynl (coolest restaurant, fyi, if you’re ever in Manhattan), and Junior’s for the best dessert … it was fun not because of what we did, but because of who we shared the experience with. I wish I could rewind time and do it all over again!

* Read my first Nicholas Sparks book. I know, I know, what rock have I been living under all these years? Actually, it’s been a deliberate choice to stay away from his novels, because I know they normally have sad endings and I tend to look for happier ones in my reading choices, but a friend recommended THE LONGEST RIDE, so I gave it a try. I am so glad, too, because I loved it. Yes, it was sad, but in a touching way. I loved the characters and the stories, especially the one primarily set in the past, and still find myself thinking about them, even days after finishing.

What have you guys been doing lately?


12 thoughts on “Lately.

  1. Mostly I’ve spent the past couple weeks wedding planning and birthday gift buying. Blargh. Logistics like that are NOT my favorite thing — but today was the birthday, and seeing the gift unfold so successfully was definitely satisfying. Hopefully the wedding will provide a similarly positive outcome, lol.

    “Being unsure about some points as I drafted was tough. Knowing how I wanted to strengthen them during revisions was inspiring.”

    That’s how revision has consistently been for me, so I think that’s why I tend to look forward to and feel most content during that phase. *knocks on wood* Glad it turned out so well for you this time!

    • Oh, I love your birthday gift idea! It was so creative and I’m not at all surprised that it was such a hit. I hope you’re managing to have some fun with the wedding planning, too. Logistics aside, it must be so exciting!

      Thank you! :)

  2. Oh, I LOVE that Henry Miller quote. Boy, if that doesn’t ring true. I am so, so happy that the editing went well for you, and that what you have lost in length has actually allowed the story to grow. Also, I’m a few chapters in to the book, and am positively loving it. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you. So far it’s been a wonderful journey full of struggle, yet hope and dreams. Eden is wonderful.

    I totally wish we could relive that Tuesday again. I am so, so grateful for our friendship, and all your love. I had such a great time with you, but alas, it went by too fast. I guess I’ll just have to take another trip out there soon. :)

    And hmmm…let’s see about me. Lately: finally feeling back on my usual time zone, haha. Now I’m babysitting during the week, and working on completing a lengthy application for my dream job (not counting a book deal with Simon & Schuster, naturally!). And I should *probably* get back into blogging at some point. Oh and like Kristan mentioned above, I have also been doing a fair amount of gift shopping. Father’s Day, my mom’s birthday is on Wednesday, and their anniversary is at the end of the month. Pretty selfish of them to have so many things in the same month. ;)

    • You just made my entire day, and it’s not even 10:00AM. :) I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that you’re enjoying it! So excited to hear your thoughts!

      Aww, and right back at you. I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason, and I am so grateful you came into mine. I can’t imagine not having you as a friend and am already looking forward to the next time we can visit in person.

      That IS a lot in the same month. Isn’t it funny how that always seems to happen? You can go months with no events and then – boom! – everything at once. I hope you’re having fun with the gift shopping, at least!

  3. Congrats on finishing the 2nd draft!!! I hope you take some time to celebrate it :)

    These days I’m working through a 3rd draft novel draft and oh man am I getting tired of this story. After a while I stop knowing whether or not anything makes sense any more, but hopefully it will all work out.

    • Thank you! I’m on vacation at the beach for a few days and can’t think of a better way to celebrate! :)

      I was thinking the same thing the other day, while staring at a paragraph for what seemed like forever … you can only read something so many times before it starts to seem unintelligible. I have faith that yours makes total sense, though, and that it’s wonderful! Good luck with the third draft!

  4. Congrats on finishing your edits, Shari! I love that feeling! During my second round of revisions for my latest book, I added more than I took away, too. It’s funny when that happens. I’m so glad you got to spend time in NYC with good friends. No matter what, even if you’re just sitting in the backyard, it’s a good time when you’re with people you care about. Lately I’ve been working on the chapter plan for FOTL so I can get cracking on it during Camp NaNo next month!

    • Thank you!! Oh, isn’t it such fun to add instead of delete? I still ended up with a much shorter book than the first draft, but I had a blast getting to write new material. I hope you’re having an equally great time working on your chapter plan for FOTL! :)

  5. I am really excited for you and about Watercolors! I just know it’s fantastic :) I put the book down on my to read list. I haven’t read Nicholas Sparks since The Notebook.

    I’ve been doing the usual :)

  6. Congrats on finishing the second draft! That must be so exciting :) Your adventure to New York sounds like it was a blast with some good people. I’ve never been to NY, but I’ll keep the places you’ve mentioned here in mind for when I do go. I still haven’t read a Nicholas Sparks book myself, but I’ve seen a few movie adaptions (The Notebook, The Last Song) and I do not have an aversion to sad endings, so I don’t know why, I guess I’m just lazy and other books keep getting in the way. Thanks for sharing, Shari! :)

    • Thank you! I was – and still am! – quite excited. I’m definitely spoiled, living close to NYC (about an hour and a half train ride), and this time was especially fun because of the company I had. I hope you get to visit one day. It truly is an amazing place! :)

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