Since I started this crazy mission to move to the United Kingdom with my in-laws and hubby life has been chaotic, to say the least!
It’s been a crazy ride – some good, some not so good – but through it all I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of achieving if I believe that the Universe has my back. I discovered the power of my mind and how easily I can achieve what I want, and also how easily I can sabotage my life. When making such a huge life-changing decision there’s no room to entertain negativity in any form.
Keeping the last book in my epic fantasy tetralogy going has been the hardest because to rewrite and edit one needs time – hours to just sit by myself and focus on it. Truth be told, time has been very scarce and I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like.
That being said, I know that there are other priorities in my life at the moment and that every cent (soon to be pence) I possess has to go into our move. That means I have to wait until we’ve settled down a bit before collecting the coins I’ll need to publish The Sword Bearer’s Ascension: Book 4. I don’t like it, I must tell you. Delaying the urge to publish and get out number four tugs at my heart every day, but for now I have to trust that it will get published when the time is right.
I have delayed everything from writing to blogging to promoting until my life has some normalcy again. I am both excited and fed up of this move, but like everything else in life that requires all your attention it simply must be done. Once I have the time back to refocus almost exclusively on my writing then the book will get finished and published. Patience is always something I have to work on, especially when instant gratification is my mantra (he-he, not really! I do have some self-control, you know).
I have learned to trust my intuition telling me to be at peace, that everything will get done at the right time, in the right way. Despite a few annoying obstacles, from our decision to move, to me getting my UK visa, to our belongings travelling by sea and arriving a whole month early, to getting the cats sorted to take with us (a scary expense!) it’s all gone pretty well. We’ll be flying from South Africa to the United Kingdom on Tuesday the 30th of September and arriving on the 1st of October with high hopes and great excitement for what the future holds for us. I reckon it will take about a month before I am fully settled to finally finish rewriting and editing Book 4 and then focus on the publishing process.
How has life been for you these days, dear Writer? Anything exciting to share? I encourage you to trust yourself and whatever Power you believe in to guide you to goodness and greatness at the right time like it has for me and my family. Through this tough process I have learned to let go of all the negative thoughts and emotions that want to drag me down. I am being taken care of and all I have to do is trust and set my intent for what I want. This I have done and now I watch with awe as it unfolds. I urge you to do the same, whether it be for work/writing or your personal life, let go… You’ll get a lot more done when there’s nothing in the way, including yourself.
Last week I started reading my first draft of The Sword Bearer’s Ascension: Book 4 after months of creation without looking back to do any rewrites or edits. I took the advice of seasoned authors and wrote with the single-minded goal to finish the story and not check back on what I’d written (as I’d done with my other works) until it was time to do a rewrite. And what I discovered took my breath away!
I’m a Pantster. I do not outline or have a storyboard with cards and post-its all over my wall. I have one notebook which I use to remind myself of particular details I need to include in the story relating to characters or descriptions or vital plot twists that will make the story better and more exciting. Those thoughts come to me when I’m not writing but doing other things completely unrelated to the craft like brushing my teeth, washing dishes, watching TV, or when I’m just about to fall asleep – the latter being the best time to come up with great ideas. When I sit at my computer I allow the story to tell itself without any interference from my perfectionist brain. I do not have a muse (that I know of), but I do believe that my stories come from a place I cannot describe, a place where the magic happens – that source you cannot explain to someone who has never had the privilege of creating magic with words.
Whenever I write and allow this inexplicable process to take over, I am always left dumbfounded by what comes out of me. So, when I began reading from the beginning, I was amazed with the incredible detail and power and beauty of the story. “Did I write that?” I frequently asked myself as I tightened up my style, got rid of extraneous words and redundancies, and checked spelling, grammar, and punctuation. I have been drawn into the story anew; I experience the turmoil and chaos of the battle scenes, the love stories, the grief and joy of the characters I fell in love with – the characters that are so much a part of me that to say goodbye to them is a special kind agony reserved only for storytellers, I believe.
Rewriting is hard work; it requires an unemotional approach because it is meant to remove the detritus that accumulates, the bad habits that have crept into my writing I’m still trying to get rid of, and the stuff I know my readers won’t be interested in. Sometimes its a brutal process, especially when you have to get rid of entire scenes or delete a sub-character you really love. But it is necessary in order to create a product as close to perfect as possible. (You do know that no work is ever perfect, right? That would remove the soul of any story.) Rewriting and editing polishes up the frenzied creating that went before, that first ‘pen to paper’ moment when the fire in your belly and brain is urging you to create just like an addict’s urge to satisfy his cravings. The latter is the most exciting part of writing – for me, anyway. I have no inhibitions, I do not concern myself with perfect spelling, grammar, punctuation (my typing skills are not fantastic as it is), and I do not get in the way of whatever/whoever is working through me. And that is when the magic happens!!
My readers are going to be blown away by the final book, but before they get their hands on it, it’s my responsibility to make it a smooth experience for them. It is my duty to make sure nothing creates a bump as they lose themselves in the story. My goal is to take them in so deep, to hypnotise them so completely, that when they are rudely pulled back into reality by the demands of normal life, they cannot remember the passing of time. All they do remember are the emotions of getting lost in a story so completely that time stood still for a little while.
Don’t you want power like that? I do. I have never received a greater compliment than when one of my readers tells me they couldn’t put my book down until they finished it – all 700 pages!
Rewriting is not for sissies, it isn’t for those who are only interested in the emotional aspect and who do not care enough about the quality of their craft. I have posted on this before: Balance between passion and knowledge is vital. It takes experience and patience to rewrite in a way that keeps the passion/emotion/magic in the story alive and then compliments it with great grammar, punctuation, and style. If we can learn to find the balance then we can be better storytellers. I make sure I learn something new ever day to improve my craft. I encourage you to do the same.
I love reading your thoughts! Do you agree with having balance between passion (that first frenzied, magical draft) and knowledge (the more emotionally removed process of rewriting and editing)?