Tag Archives: writing; revisions; editing; paddle; rowing

PADDLE! Row your way through the marshes

11 May

In my quest for adventure in 2012, I tried kayaking for the first time and absolutely loved it. It was in a very calm bay off the Gulf of Mexico at North Captiva Island, and the water was so calm and clear that you could see all way to the bottom. The water was also very shallow at that time of year; in some areas rowing was like slicing warm butter with a sharp knife, but at one point, we had to dig down and push through the marshy grasses to make our way through. Sometimes I wanted to paddle back to the open water, but I kept going and was rewarded with a view of the bay that took my breath away.

The process of writing is very much like rowing. Sometimes it’s clear sailing and easy-peasy, other times it feels like you’re pushing a kayak through three inches of water and marsh. It’s easy to give up when you get to the marshy part. Been there, done that. For me, it’s revisions. I’d rather just barf up a lovely first draft and move along to the next story, just like I did on papers in high school (where my first draft was my last draft), but writing novels doesn’t quite work like that.sports

With Olivia Twisted, I revised the opening paragraph alone three times and the entire story…well, who knows how many times. It went from 55K words to 88K, and I have no idea how many it’ll end up with when I’m done. And there were many times I wanted to just give up so I could go back to doing what I love most – drafting – but I paddled on. And I got to where I hated it and thought I sucked as a writer and so on and so forth (by the way, in my opinion, when you feel like your manuscript sucks and you suck as a writer, that’s when you know you’re close).

Obviously, I’m glad those phases didn’t last long enough to make me quit, but the point is to keep going. Paddle through the marshy blahs and get to where it’s smooth sailing again. Because the view on the other side is definitely worth it!

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