Aug

19

2014

THE LINE

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Revision, Writing, Writing Style

The last couple of days I’ve been knee deep in a revision. You’ve probably heard me blabber on about this before, but revision is my favorite part of the writing process–until it’s not. Hey! Don’t roll your eyes at me. I’m serious. What I love about the revision process is that I’ve arrived at a place where I’ve created the template for my work. The bones are on the page.  And then I have the ability to be a tinker and play around with all the pieces until they fit perfectly. But there always comes a point when I hit THE LINE.

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THE LINE is the Bermuda triangle of the writing process. You can get lost there and disappear forever if you’re not careful. In my humble opinion, it is a fine margin between making something better and overworking it. Kinda of reminds me of pie crust. If you manipulate that pile of dough too much, it all starts to fall apart. Or it gets too tough. When you are tweaking your manuscript, there is usually the chance of trying to make everything so “perfect” you lose your voice. And as I heard in LA from EVERYONE–your voice IS who you are in this business. It is the only real currency you have.

But, I call it a THE LINE because Linda Sue Park is right also–the tools of our trade are our words and you had better send out your best ones. They must be worthy. You do have to walk right up to the very edge to present your best self to the world.

Now you want to know how to tell when you’ve crossed the line. In fact, I can see you pulling out your hair and running around a round room looking for a corner to sit it. I feel the same way in this business–often. And the hard truth is that you don’t know. I’ve never met a writer who does. If you watch yourself closely enough, you might begin to see the patterns in your own process, but truthfully, there are always exceptions. *sigh* We all have blind spots when it comes to our craft.

You’re never going to know for sure. Come here–let me hold you. (((((hugs))))

But there are things that are guaranteed…

*Always do your best. Not your “that was easy” best, but your blood, sweat and tears best. Then no matter what the outcome, you can hold your head up high.

*Never give up. And I don’t mean never give up on your manuscript. Sometimes, you have to know when to walk away–heck–after you’ve grown by writing a few more manuscripts, you can always come back with a new perspective. Most people don’t–they might harvest something from the fallen pages, but they realize that there was a reason they had to put the piece to the side. And you can only see that with distance and more practice. Just don’t let immediate failure take you to the point of ultimate failure. Stepping stones.

*Trust your voice. The things that make you different from everyone else that will capture the attention of others. But it’s rarely a lightening strike. Being different almost always makes it harder to be heard. When you’re different, your success depends on other people having a vision for your voice. Hold the course. Walk the line.

What’s “line” challenges you in your writing? How do you handle it?

 

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  1. Gah! It’s like you wrote this for me today. Totally feel like I’m overworking the pie crust. Or overbaking it. Or overeating it, without taking time to digest… 😉 Anyhow, I love this post. And I’ll take that hug. And give you tons in return! <3

    • Always love it when I can read your mind and give you a bloggy hug. <3

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