Imagine that You Are Dying

P1050357A friend sent me an email yesterday taking me to task for not telling y’all where I am in my novel-writing process:

“No one reading your blog would ever suspect that you have accomplished a major milestone of your writing career. Over the past 7-8 months, you have successfully restructured and completed a major novel. You now have merely minor polishing left to do. How much credit do you suppose you deserve for that?  Tremendous credit!”

I told her, “But it’s taken me SO LONG! It’s EMBARRASSING!”

She didn’t let me get away with it. It takes as long as it takes, she said. How long does it take for a tree to grow? And who was teaching full-time until two years ago? Who has three daughters? And other stuff? And kept writing poems (too)?

So, here I am, telling you where I am in the process. I have a printed-out reader’s copy all marked up with last-run-through, mostly small edits (only three chapters with slightly more major cuts still needed). I have typed in these changes to the first fifty pages, and after a little time playing amid the poems intend to get back to it. (I feel the need for a breather.) Over the past week, I wrote a synopsis and cover letter and sent it to an agent who was recommended highly to me. If need be, I’ll send it to 10 — or 20, or 50 — more.

On a journey of this length friends are necessary.

This quote from Advice to Writers resonated with me:

Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.

ANNE ENRIGHT

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4 thoughts on “Imagine that You Are Dying

  1. Heed your friend! You are doing everything right and it takes as long as it takes. I want to read your book 🙂 but only when it’s ready.

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