An important milestone happened yesterday – I hit the halfway point in editing my novel. When I checked my word count, I randomly decided to see how many words I had remaining, and I was almost exactly at the midpoint. The work I anticipate getting done today will tip me over and there will finally be fewer words to review than words I’ve already reviewed.

It has definitely felt like a long, uphill trek. The idea that I might actually be cresting the hill is almost giddy-making. This process of learning to look critically at my manuscript and force myself to retell the same story a different way has been arduous. It’s honestly felt akin to the work I did in therapy, retraining my brain to look at things differently and building new mental habits. Old dogs can learn new tricks, it turns out.

I am, in some ways, very tired. I’ve been actively working on this book, in one form or another, for about 5 or 6 years now. That’s so much longer than I’d thought it was going to be and I’d guess I have several months left, at the very least. I knew a book would be hard work and take a long time, but I was unprepared for the reality of it. I’m honestly glad I didn’t know, going into it, how long it would take. I think my confidence back then couldn’t have handled that knowledge. Even now I tell myself the next one will be faster because of the lessons I’ve learned this time. I know full well that’s as likely to be false as true, but we do what we must to get through.

The flip side is that in some ways, this feels like the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve reclaimed such an important part of myself and found something I’m willing to pour energy into in a way I’ve never had. It’s also led me to a fantastic group of people I wouldn’t have had in my life otherwise. It’s given me the confidence to share some of my most personal thoughts and be more honest about who I am.

For the novel specifically, the work has been so worthwhile. I think it’s much stronger now – my characters more defined, the plot and tension better paced, the world getting richer and better described. I think the “cresting the hill” and “downward slope” metaphors actually work very well, because I really did struggle with seeing what had to be done in editing. Making myself think in that way was a real uphill battle but it’s getting easier every day and I definitely think I’m through the worst of that learning process.

So hurrah for cresting the hill and getting onto that wonderful downslope. Half the novel is done and the second half will, I think, go easier. Downslopes still have their own challenges and lots of places to lose balance, so I’m hardly in the clear, but at least now the end is in sight. Off we go!


On a housekeeping note, I’ll be away next weekend at my retreat and deep into the group writing and editing groove, so there won’t be a blog entry next Sunday. Hopefully I’ll see you here again on Sunday, March 24th like normal.

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