“The beginning and the end reach out their hands to each other.” (Chinese Proverb)
One more time I have written those two oftentimes elusive words. The end. I’m not sure I’ve written the right words before those two necessary words, but as the King suggests in the quote below, I stopped.
“Begin at the beginning,”, the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll)
I stopped to start again. No, not a new book. At least not yet. But I headed back to the beginning to read my story to see if the beginning and the end reach out toward each other. To make sure I didn’t lose my way in the midst of nearly 100,000 words. Are my characters the same characters I started following down their story road? Well, not exactly the same. I do want them to have grown and perhaps learned something about themselves along the way. They’ve had challenges. They’ve chased love. They’ve made decisions about their futures. They’ve lived the life of my story.
This book doesn’t have an official title yet. It’s not the next book up for me. That’s These Healing Hills that has already been edited by me and several editors and could be on the way to the printers very soon for its September release. That’s how writing novels can be. While one book is hitting the shelves and stores for the reader to grab, the writer may be well along with the process of coming up with a new story. This story where I just wrote “the end” is a long way from you, the reader. I am working it over. I need to take out all but the necessary words. I want to trim and plump and do everything I can to make the story better. I like my characters so that helps.
Once I finally decide I’ve done the best I can, then off the manuscript will go to my editor who will read it and let me know if she thinks the story works and if there are ways I can improve it. That’s the period of time when, as a writer, I hold my breath until I get a thumbs up from the editor. I don’t want to even imagine a thumbs down, but that’s what has me on pins and needles waiting to hear her verdict. You’d think after thirty plus books, I’d have figured out a way to keep breathing during that wait. Well, I don’t really hold my breath the whole time. If I did, I’d be a goner and not have to worry about what the editor said since it usually takes a few weeks, sometimes months for the editor to work my book into her schedule. She has books by other authors besides me to get ready for readers.
But you see, at this stage of the game, I only have that one book on my mind. Even if I am already planning the next book, this new book awaiting judgment is the one that circles in my head and is always there in the back of my mind. Does the story work? Will she like it? Will readers like it? Did I tell the story I wanted to tell? Was I crazy to think I could write this story?
Negative thoughts are a writer hazard. Really a hazard for anyone. You need to put out those orange cones or barrels to guide you around those pitfalls. Think positive. For me with this book I just finished, I can tell myself it’s a good story. If there are problems, I have plenty of time for edits. Who knows? My editor might really like it. She’s liked my other stories. And someday, in a year or so, some readers might like it too.
Why don’t you do the same? If negative thoughts plague you, set out some of those orange cones to guide you out onto the positive road. Write good thoughts on those orange cones even if it’s something trite like “I can do it!” Or “The Lord made me and the Lord doesn’t make mistakes.” Or “Each day brings blessings.” Or “Tomorrow the sun will rise.” Or “I am a child of God.” Or even simpler “Jesus loves me.” He does, you know. So even if a day does bring worries and disappointments, we can always depend on God’s love. No disappointments there.
What positive phrases help you kick back the negative thoughts?
As always, thanks for reading.