“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
It has been a week now since I started revisions on my book. I’ve gone through six chapters so far and have deleted just over three thousand words. That seems pretty good, right? Three thousand words from sixty pages is nothing to sneeze at, especially because I’ve also been adding in quite a few sections as I go along. But it’s not on par with where my deletion totals have been for the past couple novels – instead of cutting a thousand words per day, it’s usually been around half of that. It shouldn’t bother me. I know this. I know that each story is different, each creative process is different, each experience is different. That’s a good thing. It’d be awfully boring, wouldn’t it, if they were all the same? I think it’s hard not to compare, though. We’re constantly doing it, and, perhaps, constantly reminding ourselves not to do it. At least, I am.
And yet … I’ve still been eyeing my daily word count and stacking it up against previous ones. Until today. Because today, I realized something. It’s okay that there hasn’t been as much to trim from the edges of this story so far. There will be those wordy passages in the future, the scenes I can chop and the characters I can erase (yes … I am actually completely getting rid of at least one, perhaps two, and no, surprisingly this doesn’t make me nearly as sad as I thought it would, because I know it’s best for the story). With some books, I delete entire pages at once. With this one, I’m still spending hours on each chapter, but I seem to be mostly pulling from each individual sentence. I’m slimming it down piece by piece, one word at a time. I’m okay with that now – because, really, isn’t that often how our lives go? We create the foundation brick by brick. Each word written, each photo taken, each canvas painted, each application submitted … this is how we get from where we are to where we want to be. Dreams are real, and so are passions, but they’re built on hard work and the willingness to throw ourselves into the details with all the attention that we would give to the big and shiny main goal. Maybe that goal isn’t one huge thing, after all. Maybe, instead of a giant hot air balloon floating high above, it’s a hundred regular balloons with their strings dangling right in front of us. I’m content to grab them, one by one. I’d like to hold each of them in my hand for awhile before letting them soar into the limitless sky.
Piece by piece. That’s how we arrange the building blocks of our lives. That’s how everything grows. Sometimes the pieces are tiny. Sometimes they’re big. Sometimes they’re neat and symmetrical, sometimes they’re messy and uneven. But as long as each one is a part of us, I think that’s what matters most. We’re all a puzzle, right? Just like books have so many elements that come together to tell a story, we have so many elements that come together to tell our stories. It’s easy to forget that. So easy. Maybe even too easy.
So as I continue revising this book chapter by chapter, I’ll remember that. I’ll do my best to soak up every part of the journey and to give it the attention it deserves. This book will get there, and so will I … piece by piece.