I’m no Stephen King, but don’t get me wrong: I love his works and am insanely jealous. I feel his process is much like a buffet: when he writes, he has so much to say, and then must cut it down to find the perfectly delicious meal for his reader.
I’m quite the opposite. This summer I wrote a book, and I am quite proud of it. But it was only a skeleton, a shell of its potential. After getting feedback from some of my closest friends, I let it sit and rest. I spent the month of September distracting myself with a blog post a day, not to mention of course my full-time career, side jobs and personal life. It’s hard for me. I’m impatient. I want the perfect product now, but I forced myself to let it rest if I want it to be its best.
Now, I’ve re-read it and have added to the bones: there’s meat and organs pumping blood through the thin skin that covered the bones. It’s more beautiful than ever, and when I’m published, I’ll talk about this process. Sometimes you have to give an idea time to grow.
I read parts of the revisions tonight to my most trusted reader, and I can tell you that I am so excited by the possibilities. I have for you an exciting and fun adventure. I have something I cannot wait to share, and it’s so hard, you know this if you know me, to keep the details to myself. Maybe I will need to let it rest again and revise again, and maybe that process will repeat for a long time. Or maybe it will be ready tomorrow. I don’t know. I only know I enjoy the process. That’s what keeps me going, as it should for all writers.
The writing process: write non-stop until you are finished. Rest and do something else. Re-read weeks or months later. Revise and write some more. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you are finished.
This will be successful, I have no doubt. But I struggle with human factors when I share my process with others. I kind of hate social media (and I kind of love it too, of course). I’ve posted a few things about my writing. You know, some people post pictures about their shoes or do a seflie in hopes of getting “likes.” I post big dreams and goals and hope to get encouragement, not likes. There have been many great friends who say supporting words, and there have been many so called “friends” who have said nothing about one of my biggest goals. Does it make me a bad person to think that these people kind of suck? Have you ever felt this way? You share something so close to your heart, something you’ve poured hours of time in to, and they say nothing? This feeling is worth talking about, I think. As a teacher, I always will encourage students’ goals. Of course, not everyone is a teacher, and not every teacher is all that encouraging. But for my dear friends who have read these blogs and made an effort to say “good luck” in any kind of way, I will remember you. You are a part of that writing process. Encouragement is fuel to our motivation as writers. Criticism can be good fuel too, so of course, if you get to read a sample, don't hold back. We need good criticism as much as we need encouragement.
Yes, the best thing we can do for one another is to encourage dreams. Maybe it will be nothing. Maybe it will be something. But no matter what dreams your friends have, wouldn’t you rather be one of the friends who supported and encouraged? The real purpose of this blog isn’t about my process or status on the novel I am writing. It’s a tribute to all of those who support the dreamers.
Like many goals, writing is journey meant to be enjoyed. It’s not about a destination or success. Remember that in any path your friends may take. Support their dreams and journeys. I have great pride in the stories I have written, and I have every confidence great things will happen with those stories. However, it’s also true nothing may come of them. Then all we dreamers have to fall back on is the support others gave to us. That support is enough to keep us going.
The best parts of social media are when we support one another. I’ve always been convinced that the more we support others, the more success we ourselves will have.
So thank you to my close friends who have read and supported my work over the last several months. I have made incredible progress and will never give up. And if you know anything about me, I always follow through with my goals.
I just want you to know that I deeply appreciate the encouragement you have provided me. And I will be there too to encourage you.