Although sadly ignored, I have another blog out there, and the tagline is “Write. Read. Revise. Repeat.” The simplicity of the words combined with the staccato beats of the periods speaks to me, although I couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps the key is that these words are so simple, so direct when used this way, that its impossible to misunderstand what I have to do.
Yesterday was a read day. A dear friend and member of my writers’ group has begun splitting her time between New England and Florida. She was in town for a few weeks, and I was thrilled to see her in person last week during our critique session (we’ve been calling her so she can still join us, but it’s not really the same). This week we met for some writing time, just the two of us.
As much as writing is a solitary exercise, there’s something special about sharing that solitary exercise with a kindred spirit. I’m doing the writing on my own, and yet sharing my space with someone doing the same thing. I’ve found that joint writing time keeps me focused, as I don’t stray onto the internet, and I’m away from home so I’m not tempted to do those pesky chores instead of wrestle my plot into submission.
For me, the writing process includes the “read” and “revise” parts, so when I say we had a writing session, it can include those other activities. Today’s reading exercise provided a much needed confidence boost. While I try to plow forward and not let myself become sidelined by wordsmithing rather than finishing the story, sometimes I get distracted or stumped, and lose confidence in the tale I’m spinning. When I go back to the beginning and read what I’ve written, I can find myself pleasantly surprised, or at least reminded that yes, there’s a good story developing!
Of course, within the first twelve pages I captured at least fifteen notes: plot holes, missing details, or areas where I need to expand when I get to that revise state. For instance, I never explain or describe what the main character is wearing in the first chapter, nor do I capture the time of year. (Oops.) Is an armed alarm shown by a green light or a red? But, the reading step is most often energizing for me. I get excited about the story all over again, even when noting things that need to improve.
Sometimes, those notes turn into exciting side-topics to research, too. Today, I realized that I have a safe house with no discernible floor plan, and what I’ve described doesn’t make sense. While the actual floor plan won’t be in the book, as the writer, I need to be able visualize this space, well and clearly. Some rainy day I’ll be working with Mr. Google, finding just the right former gate/carriage house-turned-guest cottage for this story, and I’ll save the floor plans to my Pinterest site. (If you happen to live in one of these, let me know.)
I’m back to writing now. The good news is, I’ve fallen in love with this story all over again, and I can’t wait to write what happens next. Hopefully, someday, y’all will get to pick up your own copy of this story in a local bookstore to read!