Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finding Your Stride — Sticking It Out Until You Remember Why You Love This

A lot of people ask me how my revision is going. And it's a question I appreciate a lot. It shows encouragement,  interest in my work and my life, and this thing they know is so important to me. And this week, I was happy to be able to answer with a little more enthusiasm. To say that my revision was moving along; that I finally felt like I'd made some progess.

Now, let me be honest. I have a lot more work to do. And plenty more revising hours ahead. But something changed this week. I felt like I kind of hit my stride a bit more. I had a better understanding of my work as a whole. I felt super connected to my characters again. I had new ideas about moving scenes and inserting details and character placement. I saw more potential. And I liked revising, at least for a little while!

See, I'm not sure what exactly made this difference. Perhaps it was that I took a day off from work this week and revised twenty pages in one day, which really helped me feel like I made substantial progress. Or perhaps it's that in this part of the novel, pieces are starting to fall into place and my characters are prearing to embark on their journey. But I think part of it is simply the fact that I've traveled along the journey of my characters again. I'm invested in a new way. I'm re-invested in seeing them through, because at this point, in the way I hope my future readers will feel, I want to see what happens to them. I want them to succeed. I want them to find the answers that will lead to resolution.

Revision is work. And work like this fills a lot of hours. So I understand why sometimes I don't want to revise or why revision often feels like work instead of fun. But there's something to be said for sticking it out. And even more to be said about continuing your dedicated work through your disinterest.

Good book takes time. All art takes time. Time that isn't always fun. But much like running, we all need time to warm up. To find our stride and fall into a comfortable rhythm that will take us the distance. Sometimes, finding our stride takes just a few days. Sometimes it takes weeks. And from day to day that some comfortable level — that interest and motivation and enthusiasm — can change. But when you find what works for you, when you rediscover the excitement of your novel and have a moment that energizes you and brings new life to your work, then it will all seems a bit more worth it.  And hopefully you will that extra motivation you need.

So, here's to more hard work and dedication. And here's to hoping we find our stride just when we need it — that the love our craft surprises us again and again.

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