A Writerly Kind of Love

Last month I experienced a writer's high when I finished my most recent MS.  After working on this novel for over a year it was liberating to finally see the whole thing down on paper.  After months of pounding out words whenever I had five free minutes I would be able to lie down at night without obsessing about the next scene to write.

I wanted to get started on edits right away, but I heeded the advice of countless authors and decided to let it sit.  Besides, I needed the break and my next story was begging to be mapped out.

Last week I finally opened back up the document to start the editing process, but instead of the bubbling excitement I expected to feel at seeing my characters again, I was filled with dread.  As I read each chapter, I was overwhelmed with the realization of how much editing I needed. 

I have plot holes, bad name choices, passive voice, ludicrous dialogue tags and cheesy cliches all over the place.  I got to work, but the truth be told, I wasn't into it.  For the first time in a long time, I was no longer enjoying the writing process.

Still, I trudged on, until this weekend when something amazing happened.  After slicing the first 6,000 words, removing three minor characters and polishing my dialogue until is shined, I am in love with my first chapter.  All 3,000 words of it are spectacular.  At least, I think they are.  And right now that's all I need.

Sure, I loved my novel before, but it was more like a high school kind of love.  All shiny and new with tons of 'firsts' to keep me hooked. But even though I sang its praises to the moon, I knew my love for this first draft couldn't last...they never do.

But this love is different.  I can see myself settling down with this first chapter, sending it out with my queries, posting it to critique groups.  I imagine a future with this chapter and it makes my heart sing!

And...it makes me realize that all those other chapters waiting in the wings aren't good enough for me.  They are going to need some serious work to be worthy of following this new first chapter.  But instead of dreading it, I'm excited again. and back to enjoying the process.

What is the hardest part for you in the writing process?  What keeps you going when the writing gets tough?