Practicing and Trying

I’ve started a new manuscript and I’m very much excited about the scenes that are playing in my head, and the awesome, great characters that are already making themselves known as I think and discover, but I have to admit that I’m a little frightened to be starting again.

I spent about a year and a half on the manuscript for the story I just finished. Much of that time was just thinking and planning because I was also teaching full time. I lived with that story for so long and I still had so much grinding to do when I got to drafting and then revision. I wrote one draft and almost completely re-did the last half of the story and now I’m facing more re-writes when my beta-readers get back to me (at least one has trickled in with both praise and suggestions). I really enjoyed writing and thinking about my story but I was also really excited to be DONE with it.

And the new story was knocking at my brain, eager to get to the page, so I jumped into research quickly and even more quickly started drafting. I researched for a much shorter time because I was just so excited about the new characters and telling their story.

But getting back into the grind of world building, character development and plot is feeling very overwhelming at this moment. I’m excited and also reserved. I think about it a lot but it’s hard to know what to do when I sit down. Where does this story go?

I learned SO much with my first story, and I’m beginning to see what writers mean when they say that every book is a new lesson. I’m using some of those previous skills, but I’m also finding new challenges. Each story is different and each story has its own quirks. Hopefully, I can get past this hump with this story of “Where do I go from here?” and will feel the rush of excitement with this one soon.

For now, my only two pieces of advice for myself (and anyone else who wants to take it) are these:

The secret of it all is to write…without waiting for a fit time or place. – Walt Whitman

I have that on a coffee mug I made myself. It’s a good reminder of BICHOK, that writing only gets done when you do it without waiting for inspiration. Instead, make inspiration find you ready and open to it.

The second piece of advice comes from one of my earlier posts about Lin Ullman’s advice. I’ve been trying very hard to listen, to step back from what I want, and instead listen to what the story is telling me, which direction to follow based on what has come before. It’s very meditative and also a bit of an exercise in release. So I’m practicing, and trying. And I guess that is all one can hope for.

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