It’s A Constant Struggle To Get It Down

Here’s a quote I can relate to:
“We’re all there trying to make the story, novel, or chapter as good as it can be. It’s a constant struggle to get it down, get it clear, and understand that your intentions are the same, whether you’re an undergraduate writing a short story or a writer with seven published novels. The continually reassuring thing is that we’re all novices when we start a new work.” ALICE McDERMOTT

I’ve had my current manuscript in the works for years, having been distracted by major life crises or other important things (like when my daughter was killed by a drunk driver, or in order to survive, trying to start a new B&B business and all the work entailed with keeping it going, etc.). And then I finally get the book done and am told by publishers, agents and others in the field that it is way too long….nobody reads long books anymore, they say. So I had to chop it in half and try to make the first half a good read. It was back to being a novice again. Well, when I wake up in the morning, I always feel like a novice struggling through this Life thing, so no wonder it also applies to my writing. Sometimes, it’s just OK to sit back and ponder those peaceful becalmed days I spent while sailing alone in the Pacific for 7 years…no huge waves to struggle with, no fears about whether or not the sail would blow out, no thoughts about the past or future, no worries that my coffeepot would crash to the floor. Becalmed, I could just lie on my back on the soft cockpit cushion and watch the clouds above playing with each other…there goes a dog, no it’s a cat; there goes a little girl skip-roping, no it’s a boy chasing a tiger, no an elephant.

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Sérenta (in foreground) on anchor in the Sea of Cortez
Sérenta (in foreground) on anchor in the Sea of Cortez