I wrote this the other day when I was feeling dejected. (The book I’m in the middle of tearing apart and putting together is Timber Howligan Book Two. Book One hasn’t even been published yet.)

My solution to the revision blues? NaNoWriMo. Today I finished Chapter One of Timber Howligan Book Three. I realize at the end of the month I will have yet another novel that needs, you guessed it, revision. But this month? I’m just going to write. Writing is THAT MUCH MORE FUN than revision.

Artwork by Ava Byroads

It takes a certain kind of bravery to write. To open oneself, dig out the words, and lay them out to dry, like underwear on a line. Glaring. Full of holes. Pinned by nothing but flimsy hopes and rusting plastic clips, against the winds of others’ curiosity.

Even worse, against their indifference.

All the writing blogs, all the founts of inspiration, everywhere you turn, there’s chin-up advice about writing. Word counts. Butt-in-chair time. Two pages a day makes a novel in a year. Etc. Well, guess what: Writing is easy. It’s a walk through the metaphorical rose garden, a lark through the loosestrife, a dance in the daisies, compared to revision.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has done this before that the process includes self-doubt. And yet, when the doubts came, I was surprised. (This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.)

With doubt, came paralysis. I froze, and I drowned. I’m not good enough, and I’ll never be. Worse, I stopped wanting to be. I regretted the time already wasted. All those hours, poured into a project no one will ever read. (Except, a voice whispered, your son…who loved it. And begged for more.)

Thousands of words written and erased, only to leave the book’s soul stranded between revisions…better to abandon it, than break it even more. (Unless, a voice whispered, you tackle it once more, and find the true story. It’s in there. It always has been.)

Easier not to try, than to try and fail, or face rejection. (But you know, the voice whispered, that each rejection has made you try harder. Only you can give this story life. You are its God. How can you forsake it?)

Oh, you had to invoke the deity argument! Fine, I’ll keep at it. I’m too far committed not to. I’m not a quitter. I’ve got a picture of Timber Howligan, tall and proud, staring at me from my desktop now. His green eyes are challenging me, every day. If he’s strong enough to tackle the life of a secret agent cat, I can tell his story with all the heart and honesty he lived it with. It’s a simple tale of friendship, bravery, and one cat discovering he can be more than he thought he could be. The words are there.

I just need to rip myself open and find them.

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