I have decided to try something crazy. It has been a full year since the day I looked at MIRRORPASS and said to myself, "this is the novel I am going to query," the day someone showed interest in my barely-finished first draft, the day I felt like God had encouraged me to have hope for this story, and the day I vowed to edit like crazy until it was done.
A year later, and I am 54% through.
Good grief, you may ask, what has she been doing?
Well, about six months of that time was wasted time when it comes to writing, and that was my fault; I let the novel sit for a few months while I finished my semester, then over the summer I got caught up in social life, and it wasn't until last semester that I started editing again for real. Since that time I wrote some missing scenes (draft 2) revised a few major plot faux pas, got feedback on the edits (draft 3) and started over at the beginning, writing and editing and polishing and getting feedback, and mostly rewriting each chapter until all the plot issues were gone and it shone (draft 4) which is the one I'm now 54% through.
During all this I was simultaneously studying as a full-time college student, peer tutoring, plus--oh wait, I said all this HERE. Except now you can add a part time job to the list. (Yes, I know! I vowed not to get a job! I declared it would kill me! But they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse.)
Anyway, anyway, back to my point.
This is taking too long. I love my novel, but it's time to finish and start querying and move on to the next shiny idea. It's time to really engage in writing as a career and start attending conferences and building up my platform. It's time to dump the old pot of cooled, musty mental coffee and start percolating a fresh new one. It's time--
And I'm not ready.
MIRRORPASS is unfinished. The scariest, most frustrating aspect of it all (besides the fact that I wasted those early months) is that now I don't have the time to catch up, simply can't fit all these things into my schedule. I keep telling myself I have to do it all, be it all--and I'm sure all the adults out there will chorus with me, "It doesn't work!"
Something is always undone.
So what's a girl to do?
First, I set a deadline with a reward at the end. (This always stimulates me to figure out how I'll reach the reward and I sort of forget it's a deadline.) Sometime this summer, late June through early August, my big plan is to attend a writer's conference. SCBWI was my original idea but now travel is looking a bit too expensive, so I'm on the hunt for substitutes. (Suggestions, please? I want a 3-day conference, not a weeklong workshop.)
Then after setting my deadline/reward...
I got stuck.
Same old issue: no time, no time, no time. Over Spring Break I had a momentary breakdown where, in frustration at not being able to write even on my so called break, I went to my bed and cried out to God about how much I hated not writing and how frustrated I was. I reminded Him that He was the one to give me this passion in the first place. I reminded Him that He was the one who promised me to seek Him first, which I had been focusing on along with writing, and that everything else would come *after. I reminded God that He'd been the one to encourage me one year ago, and I needed His provision now.
This might seem odd to someone who isn't a Christian, but one thing God has shown me is that He always has solutions. In the case of the impossible, He's the only one who has solutions. And that's what I needed.
Right around the time I dragged myself into a sitting position, my mother walked in, took a look at my face, and asked what was wrong. As I spoke with her I blurted a crazy idea that had come to mind--"I'm thinking I should just get at six in the morning," I told her, "before work and school and everything, so that I have time to spend with God and to write."
She said, "I think that's a good idea."
And all at once I realized I was desperate enough and determined enough to go for it. So here I am. Day one of the 6-AM Editing Challenge. I have no idea how long this will last, but I have three milestones:
Make it through a week.
Make it through the end of semester.
Have MIRRORPASS query-ready by the time I go to the writer's conference.
And I plan to blog about it, posting progress and hangups and whatever writing-as-craft nuggets I stumble upon along the way. I expect to post once each evening for the first week (to see if I can keep it up) and then one big progress report each weekend afterwards.
So, to all my writer friends, root for me! To all my Christian friends, pray for me! And to everyone universally who is writing or editing or blocked--if you want to join, or modify the Challenge to your own schedule, I'd love to hear your progress in the comments. Misery loves company.
Alright, that last bit about misery was a joke.
Truly and always,
*This is a paraphrase of the Bible verse found in Matthew chapter 6, verse 33. And recently God has used this verse to show me that if I spend time in the mornings digging into the word of God, like I want to but have been afraid to when I have loads of homework, He will provide a means for me to meet my commitments.