The hardest part about writing is the first page. It feels like stepping high up on a cliff and seeing nothing below but fog. God says jump. Your instincts say stay put, step back. So you hover, doubting. Are You there, Lord? Sometimes it takes me a while to step off and let go of any preconceived ideas of what I outlined and let God be there in the mist I’m sailing through.
I finished the first draft. I shouldn’t really call it a first draft because I’m editing every time I start a new day. I read through the pages I did finish and rework them as a way of limbering up for the work ahead. I go back before I can go forward. It’s been months since I started. I printed out the 640 page manuscript a few weeks ago and am ready to go off the next cliff, with God in the mist, whispering. This is the part of writing I love. The story is written. The HARD edit now begins.
Right now, every page looks like a chicken dipped its feet in ink and danced a jig. I’ve had pages spread all over the table, along with lists of characters (so I can remember them all), time lines, a map of the fictional town I created, bits and pieces of dialogue and information yet to be woven into the story. A couple of friends took a look before Bible study and blanched. Only I can decipher what I’ve written with arrows hither and yon, stars here and there, separate pages with sentences and numbers of where they go.
Today I finished the last page. I’m happy, and a little depressed.
The fun part is over, the tedious, grueling job ahead of putting all the changes into the computer. Some chapters will be easier to work through than others. The hardest ones are so messed up, it will be easier to delete the existing file and retype from scratch.
In the old days (when I used a typewriter), Rick and the children wanted to go away for a vacation when Mommy had to type the finished manuscript. I wasn’t mad at anyone, but probably looked like that “mad bluebird” everyone has seen on the internet. I tend to frown when I’m in deep concentration. Shoot me.
I decided to try an experiment this time around. I was a secretary eons ago and took dictation. Bing! I asked my daughter, Shannon who is a good typist if I could dictate a chapter to her. I was all ready to do the quivering lip and puppy dog look if she said no. Out of the goodness of her little heart, she said yes. I’ve already warned her. We must be on task. No chatting. No breaks to Starbucks.
If you don’t hear from me in a week, you’ll know we killed each other.