When you’re revising a novel, everything else goes to hell. My kitchen is a train wreck. My bed hasn’t been made for a month. The dust bunnies in the living room are having secret meetings, planning to overthrow the current administration. I didn’t send a single Christmas card or even make a batch of fudge for the holidays. Calls go unanswered, emails languish. I need to pay my bills and do something about the gray in the my hair. But I’m getting that novel done.
I’ve been working on my young adult fantasy novel for 3½ years now. That’s hardly a long time to write a novel, but it’s been feeling like a long time. And lately I’ve been struggling with the sense that I mysteriously seem to be getting older (how? why?), haven’t accomplished what I hoped to as a writer (yet), and need to get on the stick.
So, as 2012 drew to a close, I hired an editor, told her I’d get the manuscript to her the first week of January, and set myself a deadline which, despite being completely arbitrary and imposed by me, felt like it had been brought down off Mount Sinai.
When I tell my friends I’m working on my novel “night and day,” I’m not exaggerating. I’m an inveterate insomniac, and these days I’m putting my spells of nighttime wakefulness to good use. More than one chapter has been revised in a bleary-eyed 3:00 A.M. haze.
Meanwhile, my poor husband has been listening to a running commentary on my progress. “I’m doing the final rewrite on Chapter 14 today.” “Just a few tweaks to Chapter 20.” “Chapter 23 is good to go.”
And, all the while, there’s the demon picketing my house with a placard that says, “You’re wasting your time.” He could be right, of course. No matter how diligently I edit, how many scenes I painstakingly rewrite, how carefully I polish and hone, my novel might not get published. Or it might get published but not sell. It could be a critical flop or a commercial disaster. It might simply suck.
But, right now, none of that matters. It will matter eventually, and in a big way, but for the moment, there is only one thing that counts. I’m getting my novel done. I’m. Getting. It. Done.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...