On Writing: Breakfast, Branching Out, and Bettering the Book

By: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.com

“Expectations – as simple as they may be, they could be the very thing standing between you and your current goal. When it came to beginning the editing process for my novel, I had quite a lot of high expectations for myself, having the mentality of “I’ll fix it all later and it’ll be perfect.” As the editing is well underway now, I can safely say that I don’t think the novel will ever be truly perfect, though I just want it to read the way I imagined – I just want it to flow with ease. Sometimes, we spend a bit too much time on minute details that really do not matter much in the overall big picture, and if you’re feeling as stuck as I’ve been lately, it’s probably time we change our perspectives. There are a lot of “whys,” a lot of “what ifs” when you’re going through the editing process of a piece that seemed to all fit together nicely when you’d been writing it. I try to separate myself from the work when I’m reading it over, when I’m really criticizing what it is that’s going on. In order to effectively edit the piece, I have to become the reader. I have to sit with it like a book I’m excited to read, picking up on important plot points as I go along, as though I don’t know how it is going to end. That is one solution that has been working for me. For, most of the time I would begin by just reading the chapter once over before I begin, getting familiarized with what’s going on once more before I begin to pick it apart.”

Yesterday had been a snow day like I never experienced before in my time in Toronto, and with the necessary need to stay inside, I honestly thought it’d be a productive day. However, I had a seemingly unshakeable inability to just get back to work, back to editing. It wasn’t until I had felt like I’d wasted the day that I realized that I just needed a bit of time away from my written words, to come back to it with a fresher perspective, so I’m not “too” hard on myself when I get through editing yet another chapter. So, I sit here at my desk, with the sun peering through my window, calm and ready to get back to it. The editing process can be exhausting, sometimes even more exhausting than the writing process itself, and while it requires time and effort, it’s okay to step away from it all for a little while. That may be exactly what you need to remember why you loved the piece so much to begin with, why you fell in love with your characters in the first place. Take a step back, pay attention to the underlying story, and don’t worry too much about wanting to achieve perfection. I know the novel itself will never be perfect, nor will it ever truly feel “finished” but I’m working now to really get it ready for the next step. Sometimes we need a push, a nudge in the right direction. I hope this post can be that for you. 

As exhausting as the editing process is, it can very well take up a good chunk of your time, not leaving much room to get back to writing. So, I’ve been taking it upon myself to really let the words flow through a short piece, just so I can keep myself writing, practicing, improving. Looking back on some of the pieces I’ve written in the past four years, I can certainly say there has been a significant change in my writing style, in the way it reads, and I know that improvement can continue in the future if I continue to work at it. Right now, I can really settle in with a good breakfast, a cup of tea, and a blank page to just let it flow. It doesn’t have to fit, there are no expectations, and that in itself is comforting. I hope to share that short piece with you sometime soon, as well as some poetry. My poetry has been left on the back burner lately due to the novel, but it’s one perfect way to really get back into exercising my creativity.

When I turn to writing a short, even if it’s just for any hour before returning to editing my novel, I feel refreshed, I feel like I’m getting the words down and off my chest when needed – and they can very well turn into something much bigger later on. Right now, I want to challenge myself, I want to write in genres I don’t feel the most comfortable in, and the best way to experiment that is to write a short. So far, I’ve been quite enjoying it, and it really helps to kickstart my productivity. Lately, I’ve been starting the day with the book I’m currently reading (one I look forward to reviewing soon), so that I can get my mind into the productive editing/writing mindset, readying myself to tackle another chapter or another short story. I also want to expand a bit when it comes to the genres I frequently read, for I want to branch out and allow myself to learn more, to pay attention to how differently the story may read – especially if it’s not a genre I’m used to.

I hope to be sharing my current short with you very soon, as it may be a genre I feel comfortable writing, the words are flowing a lot faster than I expected – and it is quite an enjoyable write. For now, I need another cup of tea, and to sit for a bit with my novel edits.

I hope you’re all having a productive week thus far!

Thank you for reading!

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