Writing is like Running…

Writing is like Running…
That’s me! ME173 @ Bolder Boulder 10k

If you’re wondering where I have evaporated to, I’ve been training for the Rock n Roll Marathon in Denver in October with a friend. Holy cow, marathon training is serious, time-consuming bidness.

Forget about the fact that it is very (verrry) long run and that I will likely be a hollow and dried up husk of a woman after 26.2 miles in the mile high city. Yes, toss that aside for now.

Let’s think about the prep work. The build up of training. 

Week 1 – 10 miles total over 3 days (3, 4, 3) Easy.
Week 2 – 16 miles total over 4 days (3, 4, 3, 6) Not bad, especially with a partner.

Skip ahead to where I am:

Week 5 – 23 miles total over those same 4 days – omg really?  And my partner is out of town.  WTF marathon training schedule!?

Week 13 – 38 miles (20 of them in a single day) (insert maniacal laughter here)

I can’t be afraid of the numbers. I keep thinking that if I follow the training I will have what it takes when the day comes. I will have built up enough that I will have it in me to complete this race and accomplish my goal.

And that feels like writing.

When I set out to write my first novel I was blown away at how much work it was after only getting through the first threshold of 10,000 words. And then the next chapter came, and the next… and then my novel was completed.

Amazing life long goal achieved!!

Then there was that revision stage into draft 2, then 4, then 6… and now I am on draft 7.

I am starting to see a pattern here.

Running, like writing, or like anything worthwhile… takes effort and planning and time.

So, while I am out this evening doing the 10 miles that are slated for today, I’ll be thinking about coming home and sitting down at my desk (after a shower of course) to make another dent in draft 7.

I’ve put 100 miles on my sneakers in a month (that blows me away)… can I get this novel draft done in that same amount of time?  I look ahead to the end of August and it seems like it is actually within reach.

Just need to stick to the program.

One small step…

So, I have eight chapters to revise by the 15th, which is 8 days away. According to my crazy mad mathematical calculations, that is a chapter a day. Wow, that seems so much more doable than 120 pages, or 18 scenes. 

Some sage advice from Anne Lamott is bouncing through my head right now. I’ma gonna take this revision bird by bird.

Happy Friday people!

I can do this.

Lucky Number Seven? also Revision Hell.

Back in the early days of writing my manuscript THE EXPATRIATES, while revising the first and then the second draft, I’d often find myself enamored of the process. I’d smile and talk about it with my non-writerly friends feeling so excited and wistful.

There I’d be, writing away, birds chirping at the window, wind chimes tinkling in the gentle breeze, sipping my tea and nibbling on some toast points. I was happy tackling scenes as a whole, then paragraphs, then lines, and then words to make things just right.

Of course, it still wasn’t where it needed to be, or where I wanted it to be, I knew that. And I also knew that it was important to continue through to the end. The wonderful process of revising had me in its King Kong grip and I remained its faithful servant, albeit with brown hair, Bermuda shorts, and teva sandals .

The thing about The Process is that while I muddle through and remove and add words on my pages, sometimes I’d read back over the day’s work and discover a gem that I’d somehow unearthed without realizing it at the time. That, I think, is the beauty of it. Hidden character traits, quirks and flaws emerge on their own. Twists in the story develop as the story gains depth and substance.

But right now, I am feeling so differently about it all. I am in the throes of draft number seven and I am starting to really despise the damned process. The honeymoon is over. I want to kill off all of my characters just to write their screams.

I’ve had enough. I got nothin’

And yet, I know that draft seven is so needed. It might even end up being The Final Draft.

Let’s face it, the book is already written and I know how it ends. I am happy with the main arc of the story and all of the bigger picture things. Yes, the opening needs to be altered and some stuff needs to be remade to happen earlier in the book and how hard can that really be? Let me tell you, it is hard.

I look over there at the stack of notes and research and the first few chapters of my shiny new witchy novel and bemoan my state of revision. I really want to work on that one right now, it calls to me. But I am committed to completing the seventh draft so I can put THE EXPATRIATES to bed and start querying again.

Wish me luck.

Speaking of well wishes, thank you to everyone who emailed and posted about the Butterfly Release event I posted about here. The event went beautifully, and was so uplifting for everyone who came. The following day I was completely blown away when I walked in to my house after a lunch date to a surprise birthday party my husband had thrown for me!  So cool. Yeah, so I hit a milestone at the end of June, but haven’t you heard that 40 is the new black?  It is…

I just realized it is Thursday… and that means haiku!  I must go find a photo to inspire.