Yes indeed, I have been rather out of sight of late...sorry!
You may recall that I was approaching my self-appointed deadline for completing my manuscript. Well, mission accomplished! It was absurdly early/late in the morning, but I reached my goal and for the first time in my life completed a novel. I then awarded myself a couple weeks of writer's vacation so that when I went back in to do the polishing, I was going at it with fresh eyes.
This is why no one on the mighty internets have really heard from me. I was on a media binge (many, many movies and TV shows), dabbled with the idea of getting more Phil Innis work done (I did, a little) and separated myself as best I could from my big triumph.
Now, I'm back in the saddle, and I feel fantastic. It's so nice to be in this final leg of the solo-journey, I can't even tell you! I handed out the polished version of Chapter 1 to the lovely ladies in my writer's group last night, and began work on Chapter 2 this morning.
The 'polishing' stage is so...fulfilling. Why? Here's the way I see the whole process:
Creating: The most fun part. For me, this involves listening to inspiration and a whole lot of day dreaming and pages and pages of notes and preparation. Who are the characters? Where are they from? How good are their manners? What colors exist in this world? And so on. It's guilt-free, commitment-free, limitless and giddy.
Writing: This is where the first taste of 'work' comes in. Writing is so fun for me--it's making all of those ideas and feelings from the 'creating' stage exist in the real world. Granted, it's just on paper, but now you can truly share it with other people! But the knowledge that there's no easy take-backs puts a little stress into the mix. This is the craft part; it's where you realize whether or not you have the talent/drive/pure-mean-spirited-gumption to even make the whole 'writing' thing work.
Editing: Blarg. This is the real, nasty, nitty, gritty, why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself work part. I have a strong dislike for editing. Everyone has that internal editor who is so often condemned by the cheer squad, but this is where you have to let the little demon loose. You see all of your mistakes--in plot, in grammar, in form--and have to scour them from the soul of your baby with a red-hot scrub brush. Obviously, there are some people who enjoy this task. Equally obviously, I am not one of them.
Polishing: This is where I am now. And it's the first time when I've felt that I'm not just tapping out some silly story for my own sake. It's the real deal. I have a product which I am perfecting so that it can be sent out! Oddly enough, this was the part of the process I was truly not looking forward to. It just seemed so unnecessary--why would I pour my heart and soul over something when I'm inevitably going to have to watch some other editor scrape it off? But now I see it differently. This is the stage where I reacquaint myself with my little world. I've worked hard to get this far; this is the last stop where it's just me, the story, and everything that's been built up between us. Like a last chat with a dear friend before they go off into the world.
And that's where I am now! I'm incredibly happy with the situation. Heel clicks and flower necklaces all around!
And just in case anyone needs a boost, enjoy this darling little cartoon that absolutely requires two watch-throughs: