Bumpy Sledding and Editing

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I’ve been away from home for a few days keeping my son’s kids. Great kids, but lively. There was snow up their way and of course they wanted to go out and play in it. Trouble was the wind chill was double minus something. It wasn’t so bad the day I got there and so we rushed on our boots and gloves and hurried out before dark to decorate the yard with some snow people. Then those minus temperatures helped the snowmen stick around. On the second day the boys wanted to go out and sled on their backyard hill. It was cold. We had to hunt boots and gloves. Took us thirty minutes to get dressed. They got cold and were ready to come in after about fifteen minutes. That’s how it goes. But before they got too cold, we did find a little sled. Neither boy made it to the bottom of the hill, but tumbled off about halfway down and rolled the rest of the way. They both wanted me to sled down the hill, but this grandma has learned better than that. The last time I tried to go sledding several years ago with another grandson, I found out pretty fast that older bodies don’t like the bumps under those little plastic sleds. So I can build snow people and I can launch my grandkids on the sleds with a little push, but I’m not seeking snow thrills these days. Don’t even like slipping in ice on foot or in a car. Does that mean I’m over the hill or just finally getting wise?

My son and his wife were stuck in Atlanta for an extra night and day and so I was late getting home. Since I have a writing deadline looming, I checked back in my blog archives and found a time when I compared that bumpy sledding episode a few years ago to the “bumpy sledding” I was having as I tried to get my
new story off the ground. I’m at the same spot now and doing the same as then – hanging on and absorbing the bumps
because I think the story is there. I’m putting that story aside to work on the edits of Love Comes Home. No major rewriting, but the little stuff can drive me crazy. I’ve spent three or four hours on one scene the editor has asked me to do a better job of transition. I’m still not happy with it. It’s funny how when I’m in the flow of writing things come easier than when I’m trying to untangle a bit of knotty writing.

So here are a few quotes I put in that long ago post about bumpy writing. I hope it will encourage you if you’re a writer and
help you understand some of what writers struggle with if you’re a

  • A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. –John K. Hutchens (A woman alone in a room, too. I do work much better when I’m alone.)
  • Writing
    is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The
    jotting is simplicity itself-it is the occurring which is difficult
    . -Stephen Leacock
  • I
    think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils
    something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension.

    -Norman Mailer (I couldn’t agree more. I simply cannot talk about my
    story in progress. One author I read suggested that if a writer tells
    her story, there’s no need for her to write it.)
  • Make ’em laugh; make ’em cry; make ’em wait. – Charles Reade

last one is advice I want to follow. I think I’ll write those words in
red on my desk calendar where I can see it every day when I start
writing. I’ll put it right beside the Proverb about how laughter works
good for us like a medicine. Hope you have much laughter and smooth sledding!

By the way, how long has it been since you tried sledding down a hill?  Maybe that was today!