Monday, March 16, 2009

Revising... Realizing

Last week I thought I was going to lose my mind while I prepared an application for a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) grant. I needed to write a synopsis, fill out an application and prepare my first chapter for submission. It was a lot more work than I expected, mostly because I am a perfectionist. Nothing is ever good enough for me. Nothing is ever "ready". So, faced with frustration and a shortage of time, I gave up. I was going to send it in no matter what I thought of it.

But, alas, Sera, my one of my dearest writing friends wouldn't let me. She insisted upon reading it over. I wanted to scream. I did not have time for this, nor the desire. Why did she have to make my life so difficult? Just let it be! At the same time, I was secretly relieved. She offered the help I couldn'tbring myself to request.

Together, we scrambled through multiple files and a ticking clock. After each sentence was checked, we had trouble printing it. I thought I was going to cry. Instead, I went home, printed from there, made the necessary copies at Staples and ran to the post office with an hour to spare.

This weekend, I crashed. I turned my focus to laundry, the hint of spring in the air, and my family. And today I realized something. It wasn't Sera who frustrated me. It was me. I have trouble accepting help. I despise it, as a matter of fact. I pretend I don't need it when I really do.

I should have asked her, but I didn't want to "bother" her. Ok, really? NO! I didn't want to take the chance she would say "no". It hurts me too much for some stupid reason. I have to get over this; I have wanted to for a long time. It seems not that I don't have a choice.

My private goal of writing was to learn more about myself through story-telling. Now it seems that the revisions are showing me more than I had anticipated. I wonder if this happens to all writers or is it just me? Maybe I am being overly dramatic. Or maybe I'm on to something. Either way, it doesn't matter. I know now that I need to revise myself in order to realize writing success. It's a good thing I like challenges. It's going to be a bumpy road.

And then..I found this! Oh, how true it is:

"In the beginning you may be writing around what you want to say instead of getting to the core. Keep writing. The route may be circuitous but after you zero in on what you truly want to say, you'll see that during all those false starts and detoured storylines, you weren't wasting time, as you feared. You were developing as a writer, developing a discerning eye and ear, finding your own voice, learning to respect self-imposed deadlines."
Madeleine Costigan


  1. wonderful read...and great quote....

  2. Thanks Diana! And, I borrowed the quote from a fellow blogger....I love online communities.