On 5:00 A.M.

Good morning, everyone. How are you doing? Fine? Glad to hear it. I’m up. It’s five o’clock in the morning where I am. I have class in six hours. And I’m editing my novel. Yep. The whole bit of it. I tried to sleep and it just was not happening.

So I decided to drop by here. I thought that it would be nice to just write something that wasn’t fictitious for a while, something that I could know for sure would get out there. Writing a novel is exhausting. I’d like to tell you a bit about mine. Not the plot – just in case this one turns out nicely. I’d like to surprise all of you. No, I want to tell you about the process. Maybe if this becomes a book in a few months, we can look back at this post and laugh together.

I started writing this book when I was twelve. No, I’m not exaggerating. I’m twenty. That’s a long time to be working on one thing. I wasn’t doing it exclusively – that would just be insanity, don’t you think? So I’ve had this novel, and I kept starting over, over and over again. I had parts of it that weren’t working but I knew I couldn’t cut them because there was just too much of my heart in it. I would write a huge chunk and then just abandon it for months, then come back and start over. This went on for years. Then when I got to college, something funny happened. I learned how to edit my ideas. Not just my words – my ideas. I learned to cut out something that I couldn’t force to work. Sometimes that happens. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It’s just not a good idea for that particular story. Not all stories can have every single one of your favorite elements in them. It’s a fact of life.

So I made cuts. And I kept cutting and cutting and it took me back to the simplicity of the story itself. I learned more about the characters. My final step was cutting one of the narrators (it was a split narrative) and focusing on one main character. It was like an enormous weight was lifted off of my shoulders. That was three weeks ago. And you know what? After eight years of fiddling, I finished the first draft in three damn weeks. Three. I know. I can’t really process it either. It’s not even that short: 75,000 words. A legitimate novel.

So there is a lesson here, in my ramblings. If there are any writers out there, I want you to take a look at what isn’t working. Let it go. Just cut it. If it is meant to be there, it will work itself back in later. It’ll happen. But sometimes, we get so caught up in the romance of it all that we forget what really matters: good writing.

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