Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Act of Faith

Perhaps because it’s nearing Christmas, or maybe because I was accosted (yet again) at Halloween by the endearing you’re-going-to-hell crazy people, that has led me to think a lot about faith.

Not the kind of faith that they’re talking about, to be sure. Because faith is not excluded to a religious POV.

There are a lot of things that I have to take on faith. I have faith that my kids are going to be okay. That they’re going to grow up, be happy, have a good life and (hopefully) make good choices.

I have faith that my husband will come home to me, no matter how many times he’s deployed. I need to have this faith because sometimes when he’s gone, the road is tough.

I have faith that tomorrow I will wake up and it will be a good day… and the day after that… and the day after that…

The list can and does go on.

Writing a book is an act of faith. You can plan, and plot and know what you want to write, but there is always a point at which you question everything. A point where you want to give up because the book is not fixable, or not going in the direction it should, or just plain sucks. That’s when the faith kicks in and you simply have to finish.

I started on a new book about a month ago. It doesn’t take long for the “shiny new idea” to turn into “this is the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever written.” *grin* That’s the time when I have to remind myself (often) that everything works out. There will be more drafts, more time to edit, smooth and polish. It does and will come together.

I apologized to Steven for my scatterbrain, frustration, and inability to concentrate on anything of value.

He blinked. “You’re always like this when you start a new book. It’s what I expect.”

True.

I forget every damn time that this is what happens: that the tunnel seems too long and full of potholes (or “plot holes” – heh). I concentrate on “getting there” without focusing on the ride. I cry, sweat and get frustrated over the fact that “this is simply never going to work out,” instead of sitting back and letting my imagination work and trusting that it will.

This is the time when less experienced writers would quit. This is the number one reason there are so many half-finished first drafts. Or the plot is not “good enough” and they need to “start over.” It’s a cycle of never finishing, because the faith isn’t there yet.

It gets worse (or better?) with subsequent drafts. Having faith that you will make the story better, not worse. That the plot arc you chose to fix will make it stronger. That you will not make the same mistakes you made in the last book – because remember what a mess that was? Yes, you tell yourself, you screwed that one up royally.

And you carry the baggage on. It infects everything like a cancer. Because you’ve disconnected from the faith that is such a precious, tenuous thing.

When I open my draft I have to let all that go. I have to have faith that it will be the best thing I’ve ever written. Otherwise, what’s the point?

2 comments:

  1. I just recently took that leap of faith and pushed through the chapter that stopped me every time. I'm on the fourth draft. The last one before I send it out. And, whoa Nelly, am I ready to be done. So the reminder to savour it is beautifully timed. Thank you:)

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  2. The people around you? They have faith in you too. For those times when you need a little reminder : )

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