Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Clamp Down, Stand Firm or Move On?

Sometimes I feel like the Pete Rose of writers.  Not the most talented player on the team, but the one who’s willing to hustle and work her tail off to succeed.  I’ll keep working on a project for as long as it takes, sitting at my computer until my back aches and my butt goes numb.

Photo by Dan Photo
I won’t say how long I’ve been working on my current "work in progress."  Not even if you stick bamboo shoots under my fingernails or make me listen to Unchained Melody over and over. 

I’m tenacious when I get a manuscript between my teeth.  I won’t stop until it’s absolutely right.  I'm just a girl who can't let go.

I’m starting to think this is not such a good quality. 
Sometimes, I’m told, discretion is the better part of valor.  It might be smarter to give up on a project that’s sucking the life out of me and live to write another day. 
But it’s hard to let go when it’s a project I love.  It doesn’t seem right to leave the characters in a lurch.  How can I walk away until I know for sure how the story ends?
Writing a novel is complicated.  So many moving parts.  So much can go wrong.  So many ways to make it just a little bit better.  If I just add one more plot twist, or kill off one more character or change the wording of one more sentence, it will be perfect.  But of course, it never is. There’s no such thing as perfect. 
Perfect is the enemy of the good.  So I promise to get through this one last rewrite and then I’ll move on to other projects, other journeys, other dreams.

As soon as I take care of that hinky paragraph on page 173.

Are you the type of writer who moves easily from project to project?  Or do you clamp down on a story with the jaws of death and hold on until you reach the end?

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