Monday, May 2, 2016

When Writers Are Most Likely to Tumble...

A few minutes ago, I posted pics from a little desert hike I did earlier today. As usual, on my hikes, going down was the most hair-raising part. So far on my many hikes, I've not really fallen, although I am afraid I will. (I need a walking stick!) I certainly slip and slide a lot on my way down, and that desert hike was worse than those I am used to in Virginia/the Portland, Ore., area. More dry and rocky trails here. Anyway, my mind wandered rather than contemplate me falling off a cliff in slow motion. It wandered to how going down a hike is much like writing after you have finished your first draft.
One pic from my hike today

Writing your first draft: you're excited much of the time. You move quickly, in spurts, eager to see what is around the next bend. You can't wait to get to the top. Whether it's a simple mountain hike or climbing Everest, getting to the top is a huge accomplishment. So is finishing a first draft.

But guess what? Getting down is harder much of the time. For example, many, if not most, Everest deaths have occurred after climbers reached the top or had to turn around. Here's how it ties into writing. You're most likely not done after your first draft. Sure, it's possible that a magic pink unicorn helicopter will show up and whisk you off your Everest. It's somewhat more possible that you've written a masterpiece on your first attempt and can breeze from now on. In the huge majority of cases, though, what happens now determines the future of your book (or your health). Rock falls. Avalanches. Getting lost. Being robbed. Getting bitten by a snake. Becoming insecure about plot points. Clinging onto your wordy darlings, certain that you're on the right path--when you're miles and miles off course. Deciding whether to self-publish or to submit to publishers. Many times, rounds of editing and revisions.

Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Take breaks. Know ahead of time what you might be doing. Go with someone knowledgeable until you gain more experience. You get the picture.

And if you do fall? If you do trip like a clumsy mofo and roll and roll and scrape your knees and your legs and your arms and get dusty? Well, shoot. Get up and shake yourself off. But while you're down there, enjoy the view as much as you can (despite the pain). I bet it's gorgeous.



No comments: