Today I sat at my desk, which is the kitchen table, and opened the manuscript of my second novel. With a red pen in hand, I recited the following: “Yes, I can. Yes, I will. Yes, it has to be. I know I can, I know I will. It definitely needs to be. Yes, I should, no, I won’t. It’s not happening, you see.”
Head down in defeat, I clip the manuscript back up, rise from the table, and put it away. Then, I stroll to my computer, search for another manuscript—a short story, print it out, and begin editing. Finishing it all in one sitting. A sense of satisfaction spreading across of my face.
This was not my intention, you see. My second novel was written two years ago, and I have done several online edits. But now that’s it’s printed, it has to be read and edited some more, and more, and more. Call it procrastination, call it avoidance. But, I’ll confess, I’m feeling estranged from my story at the moment.
I spent nine years editing and reediting Love’s Perfect Surrender, my first novel. Becoming the characters; learning their quirks; feeling their emotions; and seeing the world through their eyes. There’s nothing wrong with these new characters. They are fresh and quite different.
I shake my head in frustration. Nine years is a long time. Surely, I can’t edit and reedit the same story for the next nine years. On the other hand, that edited short story is looking pretty good.
Maybe what I need is a tasting or reacquainting of the daunting task a writer has to go through in perfecting each and every one of their works. Hmm…Such as an appetizer before the main course; a good stretch of the legs before a long run; a cocktail before wine. Could the edit of the short story be enough of the practice?
Tomorrow is another day. It will come no matter what. I will sit at the kitchen table again, open my manuscript, red pen in hand, and recite: “Yes, I can. Yes, I will. Yes, it has to be. I know I can, I know I will. It definitely needs to be. It’s happening now, you see.”
Until next time…
Be well. Be safe. Be happy.