Last night, I attended the Boise Speculative Fiction Writers group. This is a loosely organized group of approximately 20 members has been meeting once a month at an indie bookstore for several years. We don’t have club officers or membership dues, and rarely have an agenda topic. Attendance is sporadic, but we usually manage to pull together at least five or six folks at each meeting, and sometimes (like last night), we even get some new folks, which is always fun. We talk about our current projects, our successes (or efforts), speculative authors, books, and movies.
Last night, one of the members announced that he had finished the first draft on his latest manuscript; a big deal for any writer. We have followed his climbing word counts for several months, and he has made amazing progress, given that he also holds down a full-time job and coaches youth baseball. The look of relief and well-earned pride of accomplishment I saw in his face spiked an envious response within me. With the deep editing I’ve been doing on FATE, the DESTINY manuscript has been languishing without any page growth since (oh my stars!) March 29th. Where did the time go?
I tell myself that the deep edits are making FATE stronger, and more likely to catch the eye of an agent or publisher (and entertain readers!), but I can’t help but feel like time is racing away from me. Between workshops and classes, and learning, and reading and re-reading the same FATE chapters over and over and OVER, I feel like I’ve wasted the last 10 weeks, and have nothing to show for it. In the last week, I’ve worked almost ten hours a day on deep editing FATE, and have only completed six chapters. I tell myself that they are better and stronger than they were, and that this deep editing experience will make me a better writer (and I even believe that), but I WANT TO WRITE! I want to work on DESTINY!! I want to get new words on paper and watch my daily word count grow!!! I’d expected to have a first draft of DESTINY completed by June. Instead, I find that I cannot move forward until I am confident that FATE is the very best it can be.
So I’m telling myself (through gritted teeth) that being a writer is about perseverance and persistence. I’m telling myself that editing IS writing, and that if FATE isn’t the absolute best I can make it, DESTINY will never have a chance. I’m telling myself that I’m working on what I need to be working on right now, and in less than two months, I’ll have FATE spit-shined and polished (and truly finished). Then I can send FATE is on its way to my potential future agent while I refocus my efforts on DESTINY as a better, stronger writer.