Tuesday, February 21, 2012

STICKIN' WITH IT (February Theme) by Holly Schindler

I completely agree with the other Smack Dabbers who have already said that one of the coolest things about the writing gig is the fact that it’s so incredibly hard for a writer to whittle what they love most about writing down to a single favorite. No—not just hard. Impossible.

For me, it’s all incredible: That initial, thrilling spark of inspiration. Outlining the entirety of a new book. The first few rounds of exploratory writing that introduce me to my characters.

While I’ve often said that a first draft—especially the middle—isn’t necessarily one of my favorite parts, I can’t say that I completely dislike drafting, either. There’s just something about getting through the first draft that feels—well—triumphant.

And, as I’ve often said—I adore revising. Revision is when my book inevitably becomes three-dimensional.

I even love the letter that comes from an editor, and the excitement of looking at the book from another’s eyes—brainstorming how to make my current work come together, using that editor’s suggestions.

As geeky as it sounds, I really do love the entire process—and beyond. I anticipate release dates, and treasure the relationships I’ve forged with my readers through the blogosphere.

To the outsider, writing probably looks like a dull occupation—one that pits a face and a computer screen against each other for hours on end. Inside, though, it becomes a grand adventure. And I can’t imagine doing anything else.

But beyond the process itself, one of the most rewarding parts of my journey has been sticking with a dream long enough to see that dream begin to pay off. I don’t care what the dream is—to become a singer, actor, writer, artist…There’s going to be a time, in the pursuit of that fantasy, when it feels like the dream is kicking your butt, a little. I’ve talked often about my long and winding road to publication—how it took seven and a half years of full-time effort to get the first book deal. Nothing could have been sweeter than inking that first deal…and then seeing that first book hit the shelves a year and a half later.

Whatever your dream may be, there will be a point at which you’ll look at yourself and wonder what you’re doing. There will be giant obstacles—a class that feels impossible, or a time commitment, or a monetary commitment…life’s obligations will try to block you from your ultimate goal. But trust me—there’s just nothing like seeing the sweat of hard work begin to pay off…


Below: my dog "advertising" my two published books

12 comments:

  1. I totally agree, Holly. (And I love revising too!)

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  2. Absolutely! And add me to the list of those who love revising--after the first shock of the revision letter is over, at any rate.

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    1. So true, Tracy. I often do a first read through a revision letter and then put it in a drawer until the next day. It seems horrible on first read; but on second reading, it's not so bad.

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  3. I have those moments of wondering what the heck I'm doing and why I'm doing it. But you know, everyone has those moments, no matter their profession or career choice. So it's all good and normal! I love the writing process too. Even when I get overwhelmed with the first-round of revisions, I still love it because I know my story is on it's way to being a lot better.

    Thanks for your positive and encouraging outlook about the entire writing journey, Holly!

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    1. So true--it doesn't matter WHAT your profession is, you'll always have those, "What the heck am I doing???" moments. I'm sure non-creative sorts have those moments, too!

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  4. Powerful stuff, Holly. I love talking to students about revising. Often, they think that stories pour from our heads to the page perfectly. Once they see how much time I spend revising, the light bulb goes on. The pressure is off to be perfect. They are free to let their imaginations go and know there will always be time to hone their writing on the next pass and the next pass and the next pass ...

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    1. Love your outlook on drafting, Trudi: "the pressure is off to be perfect"--so true!

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  5. And everything in February is drearier, in Ohio anyway. So that feeling of having your butt kicked can be exacerbated when you feel stuck in your work. Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. You're welcome, Kim! (February can be pretty dreary in MO, too...) Wishing you an early spring!

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  6. Revising is one of my favorites too, Holly. Enjoyed your post!

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  7. I wouldn't say that I love revising...but, after seven revisions on THE MARBLE QUEEN, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.

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