This week I had a really difficult time coming out of the craft and getting into the writing. Not only was I working on writing/revising, I was also working on querying. I was jumping from mindset to mindset, writer one minute, editor the next, desperately trying to attain the third-party objective view of my work that’s critical to the latter. It’s difficult to jump from the writer part that created and birthed this story, to the editor that must cut away the dead limbs of the story to make the regrowth come back stronger. And THEN I switch to querying, and tell the potential recipient why my tree in the forest of manuscripts on their desk is worth climbing and checking out the view from the top.
Yes, I’ve struggled with this before. Yes, I’ve talked about those struggles before. Why discuss it again? Because ALL. OF. THIS. IS. CYCLICAL. The cycle can take up to a year to go through (see upcoming NaNoWriMo posts starting next week) or about a day to go through (see me at the beginning of EVERY session when I sat down to work this week). It’s just how it goes. And it’s ok. Every time I go through the cycle, I think I see things differently. Or I see more of the process, and get better at it each time.
Also this week, after a night out with friends, my friend shared some of her writing with me. Her bravery, as she’s never shared a story with me, prompted me to share the first chapter of SB with her and her husband. My husband read it out loud while we sat in the moonlight on her porch, and hearing my story read like that was a gift I appreciate, both in their willingness to listen and their support of this dream. But it was also a really interesting exercise in listening to my story, as a reader, without jumping into revise it as I do when I work. I couldn’t stop at a sentence and make an adjustment. He read the first chapter all the way through, and I laughed, felt, cringed, and cheered as I listened. There were places that hit me wrong and places where I floated through the scene with my character smooth as anything. I’m excited to take what my reactions were to back to the story and see where it takes me.
What are some helpful practices or how do you separate yourself when writing versus revising vs querying? Do you have other people read parts of your story to you? Does that help you hear it differently and evaluate it in a different way?