On My Mind.


“In summer, the song sings itself.”
~William Carlos Williams

1. Guess who is officially BELOW her target word count goal on this manuscript? Guess who is incredibly excited about it? With five days of edits left to go (not that I’m counting or anything …), the book should end up falling out several thousand words below the initial plan. I am super, super happy about this and super, super pumped about how the story has tightened up throughout this round of revisions. I am also super, super confused – was transferring all my edit notes to my writing journal yesterday (I tend to jot things down frenetically while revising and then recopy them towards the end, so I know what still needs to be changed) and cannot decipher one of my comments for anything. Normally my handwriting is neat, but this … this is what editing looks like.

notes

2. This summer is going way, way, way too quickly. Maybe that’s because the first half was cool and rainy, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent mostly every day indoors editing, but still, I don’t like it. Please slow down, time!

3. Kelly’s concerts will always make for some of my favorite days.

4. Really, really good – and important – lesson from Mark Twain: “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

5. I may or may not have flipped out (AKA: I definitely flipped out) when I found this on Etsy. It’s my gift to myself for finishing edits, all the way from Ireland (came a week early and I’ve worn it every day since). A message in a bottle for my book about a message in a bottle, complete with a personalized passage from the story inside. I love it. Lots. <3

necklace

What’s on your mind today?

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Editing can be … fun?


“As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake.”
~Aimee Bender

First, a disclaimer: it’s about a zillion degrees in Pennsylvania (okay, ninety-five, but the heat index is over a hundred and that’s close enough to a zillion, right?), I spent so long editing today that my eyeballs feel like they might start bleeding at any moment, and the combination of the two aforementioned things is giving me an oh-so-lovely headache. Therefore, this post may or may not make an iota of sense. Consider yourself warned.

I wanted to talk a little about how SOT’s revisions are going, though. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find drafting to be infinitely more fun than editing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy polishing a story, tightening it up and removing all the excess, but nothing compares to the pure joy and exhilaration of spinning those first words across the pages. I will always love the writing most. And still, something funny is happening this time around … I’m actually having a blast going through every chapter. I’m devoting a day to each, which feels tedious at times but also lets me really focus on getting out every last deletable piece. My goal has been to cut five hundred words per chapter, and with the exception of three days, I’ve been reaching that. Most times I end up over six hundred. Today? Nine hundred and twenty two. I might have cheered upon checking the word count. Ha.

This draft was much more concise than my others from the get-go. And still, I’m finding lots to cut. Maybe that’s because I’ve had so much practice editing over the years. Maybe it’s because I no longer loathe the ‘delete’ key. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that while the individual trees are important, so is the forest … and while the forest is important, so are the individual trees. Sometimes less really can be more – and sometimes less means you can actually add to a manuscript during edits instead of only chopping. Can I just tell you guys how EXCITING it is to be able to do that this time? Having the wiggle room to throw in some new quirks, some new ideas, some new passages … it has been absolutely awesome. It might mean that I get distracted looking at pictures of emerald and diamond eternity bands on Google (Charlotte’s getting one that matches her engagement ring from fifty-six years earlier, and I am totally jealous. That’s normal, right, to be envious of fictional characters?), but that’s okay. Fun, fun, fun.

So far I have gone through thirteen chapters (out of thirty-five) and deleted over eight thousand words. That puts me on track to surpass my target word count goal by more than five thousand. Of course that may change as I continue working – there are definitely some chapters that are longer and have less to cut – but still, I’m quite pleased with how things are progressing on the editing front. Completely makes the eye strain worth it. I’ve been so enthusiastic about this book since the very beginning, and I swear, it’s somehow increasing daily. I genuinely love this set of characters and can’t wait for the chance to share their stories.

The only problem? Remi and Eli live in Nantucket. Charlotte and Nolan live in Atlantic City. Hanging out in their worlds every day isn’t exactly aiding my desire to ride out this heat wave at the shore. If only I could win the lottery already and buy that beach house … ;-) In the meantime, I’ll “settle” for dreaming while awake: not only of glistening ocean waves and a sea breeze twisted with salty ribbons, but also of this book. Because, truly … even editing it feels like a dream-come-true.

Short & Sweet.


“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.” ~Unknown

Popping in from Revision Land – my home for the next seven weeks – to thank the lovely Theresa for sharing this Super Sweet Blogger Award with me. Much appreciated!

supersweetbloggingaward_thumb-300x165

And now, the questions:

1. Cookies or cake? Cake, preferably chocolate or red velvet … unless we’re talking about Thin Mints, in which case I’d have to go with cookies. Hey, how about a Thin Mint flavored cake?

2. Chocolate or vanilla? C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. Though I will say, I just had a Vanilla Bean Frap from Starbucks for the first time and really enjoyed it.

3. Favorite sweet treat? This one is a toss-up between Boston Cream pie, Banana Fudge popsicles, and a dairy dessert called Grasshopper that my family sometimes makes.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Is “always” an acceptable answer?

5. Sweet nickname? None that I can think of, really. Can I substitute one of my characters in instead? Remi’s father calls her “Pumpkin.”

Your turn: what’s your favorite dessert? Favorite sweet recipe?

Escape.


“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
~Ann Patchett

I’d planned to write this post on Saturday, but it was impossible. And then again yesterday. Impossible. To be honest, it feels that way today, too, like words shouldn’t be dedicated to anything – to anyone – other than the horror of Friday and all the innocent people affected by the tragedy. It is heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching. Unimaginable. Like so many others, my thoughts and prayers have continuously been with those in Newtown. But when I look at the pictures of those sweet children and the courageous teachers who tried so valiantly to protect them, I see more than victims. I see the vibrancy they exuded, the zest for life that sparkled in their eyes and emanated from their souls. And I think there’s a reminder there, for all of us: to not only treasure the people we hold near and dear, but to live our lives at full throttle. To soak up every moment. To make time for who matters. To make time for what matters. To wish on stars and then do everything in our power to lasso them down to earth. To never take even a single day for granted. To dream and to do. It’s not enough, nothing will ever be enough, but maybe we can honor their memory by making beautiful memories of our own. And then … there is sometimes the need for an escape. For me, that escape has always been writing, and so I’m doing this post today not because I want to, but because, in ways, I feel like I have to …

Those of you who have seen my Twitter and Facebook feeds over the weekend know that I finished up edits on Mine to Love on Saturday. It was a surreal feeling. A bittersweet one. An emotional one. But mostly, joyous. And filled with love, so much love. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday that I sat down to write Reflections of Me. Since that sunny summer morning in August 2010, I have written three novels about my book-babies. I’ve watched their journey shift. I’ve watched their story unfold. I’ve watched their lives grow. I’ve watched them grow. It has been an honor and a joy. To me, Sofie, Brandon, and Ellie have become more than characters on a page. They’ve become my friends and my family. They’ve taught me things. They’ve helped me grow. And, as I’ve written about before, they’ve helped me heal. So to finish working on their story now … it’s tough. I’m not ready to let them go yet. In ways, though, I don’t have to, because they will always be a part of me. Their story will always have a spot in my heart. And this story, this book, it will always resonate a little stronger. It is very rare for me to be proud of anything I do, but I am proud of this book, and I believe in it, even more so now than when I finished the first draft back in June. Because, in this case, less really is more.

First draft: 159,329 words / 469 pages

Second draft: 124,290 words / 374 pages (-35,039 words / 95 pages)

Third draft: 107,971 words / 330 pages (-51,358 words / 139 pages)

My goal had been to trim this manuscript to 110,000 words. As you can see, it’s more than two-thousand below that. BELOW. That never happens with my books. Ever. I hope it’s a good sign for things to come. I hope this is the one that strikes a chord with an agent. I hope my characters will have a chance to live outside my heart. I hope people will love them. I hope. I hope.

To know I won’t be writing any more novels about these book-babies of mine, it hurts. But to know that I get to send them out into the world soon, to cross my fingers that their story resonates with someone else as it’s done with me, that inspires. This has been my favorite manuscript to write and I cannot wait to continue its journey. First, a couple weeks off to breathe and relax after what has been an emotional writing and revising experience. Then, I am already looking forward to jumping back in with both feet.

Anyone who’s been following along on Facebook knows that I’ve been posting daily excerpts. This final one, the first sentence of the epilogue, struck me as fitting: “I’ve always believed that the human mind is like a camera.” Because these characters and their journey have helped me develop, helped me focus, helped me capture so many things … helped me grow. Sofie, Ellie, Brandon: thank you. Thank you for being my escape. Thank you for being a catharsis. Thank you for being the place I can go to in my head – over the past few days and also over the past few years. Thank you for bringing me joy. Thank you for changing my life for good.

Thank you.

Things I’ve learned this week:


“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”
~Sarah Caldwell

1. Spending countless hours working on a laptop can eventually cause your neck muscles to become inflamed. Dominant side (right, in my case) + unwittingly tilting your head at a certain angle while on the computer x many years = lopsided muscles (aka, one side is thicker than the other). My doctor recommended physical therapy for it, so fingers crossed that works. And who says writers don’t incur occupational hazards? ;-)

2. Yogurtland is amazing not only because they have white chocolate Ghirardelli chips as a topping, but also because they have the best flavor ever: Peppermint Hot Cocoa. If you have a Yogurtland anywhere near you, go try this fabulousness. You’ll be glad you did.

3. It is impossible to put eye drops in your own eyes – at least if you’re as squeamish about that kind of thing as I am. Thank goodness for people who offer to help.

4. Wrapping holiday gifts while listening to festive music never gets old. Ever. Cannot wait for the start of Hanukkah tomorrow night and for all the warmth, light, and joy it sends twinkling through the air.

5. Knowing that you’re going to exceed a goal is an incredible feeling. When I first began editing Mine to Love, I hoped to get the manuscript under 110,000 words. With six and a half chapters left to revise, I’m only a few hundred words away. For the first time ever, I’m going to have a book that’s shorter than the goal. This excites me more than it probably should.

How about you? What’s one thing you’ve learned this week?

Rhythm of the Heart.


“The straight paved road won’t always get you farther than the winding dirt road.”
~Kelly Monaco

If you’ve been anywhere near my Facebook and Twitter feeds over the past three months, then you know how fervently I was rooting for Kelly Monaco to win this all-star season of Dancing with the Stars. It was a blast to watch her routines every week and also to see so many of her GH co-stars support her in the audience. I have been a fan of Kelly’s since her General Hospital debut back in 2003, and not only because she does such a lovely job of telling Sam’s story. Beyond that, she is genuinely gracious – I’ll never forget how she took the time to talk with me after co-hosting Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving parade back in 2005 – and diligently devoted. She is the kind of person who creates luck instead of waiting to find it, the kind of person who chases her dreams and works hard to turn them into reality. If you watched Dancing with the Stars, you know that. Kelly twirled her way into the hearts of people everywhere, and despite scores from the judges that were often lower than they gave other contestants, she and dance partner Val made it into this week’s finals. And while they finished in third place on the show, they were – and are – number one in every way that matters. They reminded us to never give up on our hopes, to never stop reaching for the stars even if they seem out of reach. They reminded us that people come into our lives for a reason and that lifelong friendships can blossom when you least expect it. They reminded us to always work endlessly for what we believe in. They reminded us to dance to our own song and listen to our own music. They reminded us not to internalize it when others doubt our goals. They reminded us that, even though the straight and paved road may be more direct, it isn’t nearly as meaningful as the winding, dirt one. Simply put, they reminded us to spin the rhythm of our hearts and to soar on its wings.

Seventy-percent of the way through my last major round of revisions for Mine to Love, I admit that I’m ready to cross the finish line and start the next segment of the race. I am so excited about this book and can’t wait to begin the querying process for it. Do I know how my quest to send it out into the world will play out? No. Do I know how the paths will curve? No. But, like Kelly said, I have faith in the journey. Whatever roads this book takes are the ones it is meant to travel. So, Kelly, I owe you a triple thank you – for your sincerity at the Thanksgiving parade, for your kindness in signing my parade production pass when I saw you at a GH meet&greet, and for your inspiration now. LeAnn Womack sings, “when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” Thank you for doing that and for motivating us all to do the same.

Your turn: who is your all-time favorite Dancing with the Stars contestant?

GH Love.


“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
~Stephen King

So … the forest of my book? The landscape of trees that’s coming together after the seeds were planted and the ideas took root? It’s something I’m really excited about, and very proud of, and so, so eager to start sending out into the world. But it’s also becoming a bit of something else: an occupational hazard. I have been spending so much time editing lately that my neck and eyes are beginning to protest. As in, I’ve been legitimately worried the last couple days that a blood vessel in my eye is going to pop. I’ll spare y’all the lovely details – just suffice it to say, I’m trying to majorly cut down on the computer time this weekend. Editing has been going well – so well, in fact, that this manuscript is actually going to dip below my target word count, which never (ever … E.V.E.R.) happens! – and though I’m reticent to scale back on my workload, I’m also trying to be smart about things. So, instead of a wordy post today, you get pictures of the General Hospital event I attended yesterday. It was a Q&A and meet-and-greet with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), and Brandon Barash (Johnny). I’ve met Bradford and Brandon before, but not Kirsten, and so it was lovely to talk with her (as well as them – I made sure to tell Bradford that Spinelli’s laptop needs a name!). It always strikes me how genuine and gracious the GH cast is. They love their jobs, they love their co-workers, they love interacting with their fans … they are just wonderful people.

Her sunny spirit is contagious!

Take 1!

Take 2!

Tell me – if you could meet the cast of any television show, who would you choose?

Book-Baby.


“When I put together a fifteen-page paper about imagery in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poetry, the whole point was breaking down and analyzing his ideas. When I wrote a short story, the whole point was breathing life into *my* ideas. It was like the difference between rummaging around in someone else’s old house and designing and building a whole new house of my own. There is pleasure in rummaging, but nothing like the grand, expansive feeling of creating.”
~Dawn West, via Charity Shumway in Ten Girls to Watch

First, a book recommendation for y’all: run, do not walk, to the closest bookstore (or closest computer) and buy Charity Shumway’s TEN GIRLS TO WATCH. I only started it yesterday, but I’m already ninety pages in and absolutely adoring the story. You know it’s going to be a fantastic book when you fall in love with a passage from the very first chapter. Expect a full review when I’m finished (MUST. NOT. NEGLECT. EDITS. TO. SIT. AND. READ. ALL. DAY.), but for the time being … seriously, do yourself a favor and add it to your to-read list.

And now, to change gears a bit, I saw the following survey on Julie’s blog and instantly wanted to fill it out. Here’s a peek into my current book-baby:

What is the working title of your book?
Mine to Love.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, this book was originally intended to be the third in a set – and, with the other two written, it always will be – but as I was working on the draft, I also started to envision it as a stand-alone. So, if we’re talking about the overarching idea for Sofie’s journey, it actually came about quite randomly. I remember it clear as day: I was sitting on the sofa, watching HGTV (because who doesn’t love HGTV?) when this thought popped into my head. Suppose someone was adopted and didn’t know the truth? It was one of those light-bulb moments, you know? One of those moments where you instantly know it’s a story you have to write. That’s how the idea for the first book was born. The second is a direct follow-up … and because I still wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my characters, the third came about as a way to bring their lives full-circle. It has a story within itself, though, one of working through the darkness of grief and emerging into the strength of sunlight, and I think that particular aspect came from all the emotion I felt after losing Gram last year. I needed somewhere for those feelings to go. I also needed a way for Sofie and her husband Brandon to pay their journey forward. This book was born from that, and I’ll be forever grateful.

What genre does your book fall under?
Women’s fiction – my favorite to read and also to write.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm … Caterina Scorsone for Sofie. Maybe Chris Pine for Brandon? I’m not sure about Ellie. Anyone know of some adorable curly-haired little actresses? I have some ideas for who would play the secondary characters, too, especially Aubrey and Lily, but I’ll spare you all from a zillion pictures. Ha.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When a mother’s dream-come-true suddenly morphs into a nightmare-come-alive, she must find the strength within herself to heal, to hope, and to truly embrace the lessons she learned from her own adoption: that everything happens for a reason, that happy is as happy does, and, perhaps most important of all, that family really is who we choose for ourselves.

(Side note: I wrote that in about five minutes. This excerpt from the actual book may help summarize: “Love doesn’t differentiate between nature and nurture. It thrives not on threads of DNA, but on those that tie us together by our heartstrings.”)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The plan (and hope, dream, goal, etc.) is for agency representation. Nothing would make me happier.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Four months – a little longer than normal, but telling this story was unbelievably therapeutic for me in many ways, and so I needed to take some extra time. That means a lot of editing now, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. This book is the story of how Sofie’s heart heals … and it helped mine do the same.

May we see an intro?
Sure!

“Mama, Mr. Bubbles is swimming!”

Ellie’s voice is soft, filled with the kind of enthusiasm only a three-year-old can possess this early in the day, and her feet whisper across the carpet as she scurries into the room. Even with my eyes shut, I can see her. Rosy cheeks, button nose, dark curls all tousled from sleep … yes, even without looking, my heart paints a picture-perfect image of my daughter.

“It’s early, Lima Bean,” I say, pressing a kiss to her temple as she climbs into bed with me. “Isn’t Mr. Bubbles too tired for aquatics?”

Ellie’s imagination is endless, so it’s a natural assumption that she’s simply playing make-believe. Until … “The witches are swimming, too. The green one and the princess one.”

AKA Elphaba and Galinda. AKA silent auction items for a benefit I’ve been working on for one of my clients. Curtain Call, a theater troupe for at-risk youth, was the first non-profit to take a chance on me when I launched my advertising company two years ago, and the thought of their fundraiser being ruined has me springing up and dashing through the apartment like a madwoman.

“Where are they swimming?” I ask.

“The bathtub. Where else?”

I race into the bathroom, mind whirling as I try to figure out how to save the dolls I had specially commissioned for next weekend’s event. They cost a hundred dollars apiece, and the hope was that they’d go for double, helping to fund new costumes for the kids.

And now they’re more reminiscent of The Little Mermaid than Wicked.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Oh boy … I’m always hesitant to answer questions like this. Anyone want to read it and tell me? ;-)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This is going to sound really cheesy, but it’s the honest truth: my characters inspired me to write it. After the first book about them, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. After the second book about them, I was even less ready. They still had a story to live, they still had a story to tell, and I think this third part of their journey is the most important to who they are, to who they will always be. So … Sofie, Brandon, and Ellie inspired me. On a less corny note, I have always been fascinated by adoption and I was excited to explore it more fully in this book. I truly think it takes such a beautiful, selfless kind of love for all parties involved.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hmm … it’s set in Atlanta, because I instantly fell in love with the city when visiting back in 2009. It also features a handful of characters from previous books I’ve written. It was so fun to spend time with them again! Oh, and yes, I did find a way to incorporate my favorite singer (Kelly Clarkson), television show (I Love Lucy), AND musical (Wicked). Sofie and I don’t share many similarities in terms of life circumstances, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t reflect my personality a little bit in other ways.

Your turn – answer one (or more!) of the questions!

Catching My Breath.


“Catch my breath
No one can hold me back
I ain’t got time for that
Catch my breath
Won’t let em get me down
It’s all so simple now.”
~Kelly Clarkson, “Catch My Breath.”

Sometimes I think Kelly Clarkson can actually see inside my brain. What other explanation is there for how ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY her new song coincided with my week off from work? Catching my breath, letting it go? Laughing hard with the windows down? Leaving footprints all over town? Keeping faith karma comes around? I mean, really … MINDREADER. And can we talk about how awesome this song is? Kelly wrote it about her journey since winning Idol – what she’s learned, who she’s become, where she’s going. It debuted last Wednesday and, no exaggeration, it has literally been stuck in my head ever since. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s one of my favorites of hers (yes, already). You should all do yourselves a favor and listen:

So, how have I been catching my breath during my break from edits?

There was a visit to the Franklin Institute.

Pendulum staircase!

Only I would take a picture “with” my heart murmur…

LOVE this quote.

Ancient bird in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit … they are STILL following me.

And a hot chocolate/pumpkin-buying spree.

Decorating my desk for the season!

A Sofie pumpkin and an Ellie pumpkin … it’s completely normal to name things after your characters, right? :)

And a lovely day spent at Arcadia for Alumni and Homecoming Weekend.

Mom and me.

Soccer field, library, and the new (beautiful!) building on campus.

I wish this had been there when I was a student!

Murphy Hall, Room 108 … AKA my home away from home for four years.

The castle will always be my favorite part!

So pretty inside.

Can you imagine living here?

Hangin’ out with a knight.

Fireworks over the castle!

It looked like Christmas lights were dancing in the sky!

And a great concert!

Graham Colton!

After the show!

Always enjoy Graham’s shows and his wonderful music!

There has also been lots (L-O-T-S) of cleaning and reading. And, now that I’ve had a week to rejuvenate and refuel, I am ready – and excited – to jump into the second round of revisions tomorrow. I’m looking forward to tightening up the story even more and getting to visit with my book-babies again. Because, as Kelly sings, it’s always important to make time for “the ones who count.”

Lessons Learned: Revisions.


“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”
~Henry Green

This morning feels a bit strange. I’m not sitting at my desk right now. I’m not hanging out with my characters, smiling from Ellie’s three-year-old antics or crying along with Sofie as she finds ways to parlay her hurt into hope. I’m not re-reading the same paragraph five different times, searching for any – every – possible place to delete words. I’m not editing. Instead, I slept in until 7:45. I read through my blogroll slowly, listening to the sound of lawn mowers crunching grass blades outside and the heater crinkling on inside (side note: Mother Nature’s apparent decision to skip from summer to winter this week? NOT COOL.). There’s a zillion things on my to-do list for later, but none involve Mine to Love.

Because as of last Friday, I am officially finished the first round of revisions! *insert happy dance here* It was a long time coming – longer than I’d originally planned, to be honest – but in retrospect, it was exactly what the book needed. It needed its major edits to come first. It needed me to devote an entire day to each chapter. It needed its words to be chosen wisely, carefully, judiciously. Though there’s still work to be done before the manuscript is truly finished, I can instinctively tell that it’s stronger today than it was three months ago. Literally, it’s less. Figuratively, it’s more. And isn’t that what writing’s all about?

As I’ve taken the book from 159,329 words (469 pages) to 124,944 words (376 pages), I’ve learned a lot about editing. Each of those 34,385 deleted words has been a reminder…

1. Much like the brainstorming and writing processes differ between projects, so does editing. What works for one manuscript may not necessarily work for another. Sometimes revisions are about adding scenes, sometimes they’re about polishing the scenes already splashed onto the pages, sometimes they’re about tightening the dialogue, sometimes they’re about limiting the exposition, sometimes (okay, in my case, always) they’re about deleting unnecessary words. Always they’re about making the book better. By trimming the manuscript down, we boost the story up.

2. Those phrases I overused in the last project? They’re hardly in this one at all … but have no fear, they’ve been replaced by others. Think it’s possible for any writer to get through an entire first draft without repeating at least a handful of words WAY TOO MUCH? My money’s on no.

3. Sometimes the scenes that affect you the most while writing are also the ones that affect you the most while revising. Sometimes you get just as swept up into your characters’ world, into their emotions, and sometimes you still have to take a deep breath to compose yourself. But other times, it’s a completely different scene that works its way into your soul. It’s the ordinary scene instead of the milestone one. And isn’t that so much like real life? Often the ordinary moments are extraordinary in their own right.

4. What published authors say about every book building upon the last, pushing them to grow and spread their wings? SO TRUE. I could feel it as I was writing the first draft, but at the same time, I was much too close to the story then to have any sense of objectivity. Revising lets me take a step back and approach it with an unbiased eye. What I saw? A book I would’ve been hesitant to write even just a couple years ago. A book that puts my characters through difficult times, times it broke my heart to write about, but a book that tells the story of how they heal and grow. Of how they spread their wings and fly. Of how they honor the past while moving on to the future. When I sat down to write the first word of this book back in January, I was really nervous about tackling it. Ten months later, I am unspeakably grateful that I did. If there’s a story in your head – in your heart – write it. Don’t let fear stop you, because sometimes fear itself is what leads us to something beautiful.

Okay, now it’s your turn: what lessons have you learned while revising? Share a tip or two that I can use when jumping back into edits next week!