A New Day Dawns and With it Comes Epiphany
For the last few days, I’ve been making real progress editing/revising my first novel, tentatively titled Sasha’s Journey. There have been highs and there have been lows: days when I knew just where I was going and allowed the story to take me there, and days when it was a struggle to put or copy and paste words on the page. But when all was said and done, I sent the requisite four chapters to my butt kicker and prepared to move on to number 5.
For years, I’ve known that my brain leads two separate lives. The analytical side wanders easily and must be pacified with music in the background, preferably something recognizable and with words so the part of my brain which is easily distracted has something to play with while the rest of it works. Conversely, when I am in that creative zone, I need silence, or as silent as this place gets with fans spinning to keep me from sweltering and cats doing the kitty 500 up and down the halls or snuffle-snoring on my desk. But it wasn’t until today’s very productive editing session that I finally realized my analytical side is multi-faceted as well.
After months of using Pandora for the gym or meditation, I wanted some music last night and turned on my Loggins and Messina station. It is, to say the least, nostalgic, bringing back the comparatively carefree high school days long past. Without thinking about it, I clicked Pandora’s ‘play’ button again when I sat down at my computer this afternoon.
After the requisite scan of email (mostly junk) and visits to Facebook and LinkedIn, I closed Facebook and began working on Chapter 4, music still playing in the background. A couple of hours later, not only had I reassembled pieces from two of the previous chapters but added quite a few words not previously seen in the first two iterations of the novel. I’d also gone through the previous 3 chapters, deleting extra spaces, adding or deleting words and correcting a few glaring errors.
Lovin’ My AHA Moments
It wasn’t until I was emailing those chapters that it finally hit me. My struggle with the editing process was so simple. It is a combination of analytical and creative efforts, and as such, my ADD brain needs to rewrite the rules. This hybrid state of mind is easily distracted because of the analytical effort required to rework the creative brain dump into something which moves at a reasonable pace, maintains some sort of continuity and holds my attention (if it doesn’t hold mine, no reader will be drawn in either). At the same time, I have to rewrite some of the chapters and determine the order it should really follow, and not the convoluted, creative meandering that came out of the initial writing and the first revision. In order to stay on track and really feel what should come next, there has to be a balance. My creative side must not be allowed to overrule the analytical, practical side. But neither can the analytical side ignore the prompts from the creative side.
No wonder the very idea of editing even a single chapter gave me the cold sweats! Until I figured out how to make the various aspects of my brain cooperate, I was destined to wallow in a cesspool of fears, discarded ideas and self-doubt. Even now, trying to write this post, I have the music playing and still, my mind wanders to Chapter 5. I know what scene I will use, but am fiddling with various ways to introduce it and move it along. I’d like to think I’ve gained enough experience over the last couple of years to know when I need to just let my brain rest and the ideas percolate. By the time I sit at my keyboard tomorrow, creative me will have a very good idea of where the chapter will start and the direction it will take. It will be up to analytical/creative me (that newly recognized hybrid) to put the pieces together in an interesting, cohesive, grammatically sensitive manner. (as the story involves teenagers, the dialogue can’t be too grammatically correct or it won’t work).
Days like this when both the story flows and I learn something new are somewhat rare, but I have a feeling these epiphanies will be flowing more freely in the days, weeks and months to come…and so will with words and the stories they’ll tell.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have finished the first 4 chapters, and know where chapter 5 is headed.
2. I am grateful for the support, love and understanding from all of the sunflowers in my life.
3. I am grateful for the company of my cats who ensure that I take breaks and don’t sit too long at the keyboard.
4. I am grateful that I can now truly see the completion of my first novel, as well as short stories both started and swirling in my brain waiting their turn to gush from my fingertips, my second novel, and of course, Frederick the Gentlemouse.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, productivity, work, play, dancing, writing, reading, learning, teaching, growing, health, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.
I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!