There are two things I love to do. One is writing. the other is working outside.
Lately, I wish I could discover something else to focus on.
Last week, I went to an island off the Georgia coast where I relaxed with family. My iPad inexplicably refused to pick up a signal (although no one else had any trouble getting on line). I took this as a sign to forget about email and Facebook and simply enjoy the hot days sunning, bathing, and shopping; and the evenings devoted to eating my fill of shrimp.
I came hope ready to tackle the yard and my rewrites.
Alas, “back home” we’d had 95-degree weather and no rain. My flowers were either dead or close to extinction. The grass crackled underfoot like walking on Wheaties. My blueberries resembled bunches of raisins. As if in defiance of the stunning heat, the hedges had thrust up new growth and looked like raggedy urchins in dire need of a haircut.
So there was that.
Then I opened up the edited ms. To be fair, the woman who took on my novel and gave it her professional attention is right on with her comments and criticisms. I admit to vagaries of punctuation. I admit to discrepancies. I was prepared to dig in and correct all the places she had marked. That’s the easy part.
But it is harder to admit to the larger areas of character, plot and the mysterious labyrinth of foreshadowing without giving the whole story away. I am constantly going back to rewrite a paragraph or scene, then realizing it doesn’t work and rewriting it again. And again.
The more I work on it, the more convinced I am that the story is terrible, nonredeemable, and should be thrown in the trash.
That would be easy. All I have to do is tap the Delete button on my computer.
Then I re-read some of my own posts and remember that my mantra is perseverance. So I slogged on. Paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence.
This business of rewriting may be the hardest thing I have ever done. I keep telling myself that I have published with two different houses, and that one of my books is up for an award.
It’s just that I want this book to be better. Don’t we all want our next book to be better than the one before?
When it gets too frustrating and I want to scream and pull my hair out, I back off from the computer.
I go outside and work in the yard. So far, I have trimmed the hedges, mowed the front and back lawns–not of grass, but of weeds and buttercups, and watered the flowers.
Then I go back to revising.
There is something to be said about balance, but I think I already said it.