Brick By Brick

Book 4 has officially been ripped to shreds. Not literally, that would be a shit ton of trees. But in the form of those lovely little comment boxes in Word. As it stands there are 101. That’s 101 changes to make to my manuscript, most of them major. And I’ve given myself a deadline of having the next draft done by this Saturday. Yeah. I know I’m insane.

But here’s the thing. After I spent a day just staring at all of the work I still have to do, scrolling through the document and reading over my notes, trying desperately to bite back the tears and the panic, I realized this very important truth that I always seem to forget. Writing a book happens one word at a time. There are no physical or intellectual shortcuts. There really is no other way.

And yet, despite knowing this, I always allow myself to become overwhelmed. When I’m facing a first draft or staring down revisions, that first day is always miserable. And it’s not writer’s block. In fact, it’s the opposite. There is so much going on in my head–plot and characters and motivations and symbolism and dialogue and images–all of it scrambling for center stage which leaves me scrambling for a starting point. I took one look at those notes and I already felt defeated.

But then I woke up this morning, I re-opened the document, and I didn’t let myself scroll past the first page. I read through that first note, worked out where to incorporate the changes, and then I got to work. Because I’m not going to fix this story by trying to plow my way through it with a bulldozer. I’m going to fix this story with a trowel, brick by brick. One note at a time. One word at a time. Just like every other writer in the world, from closet to bestseller and everyone in between.

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