Having grown up as a Rocky Mountain girl, I know to pace myself when I go for a hike. There have been times when I’ve “hit the wall” and had to go back down having been totally dominated by the mountain. The same thing can happen if you don’t pace yourself and play it smart when writing a book. As I write this post, I have been through the book ordeal twice and am in the midst of a third. Each time I tell myself the next book will be different. It never is. I always hit the same trail markers.
Trail Marker 1 – Rough Draft: I made it up the first steep slope. Several aspiring hikers have stopped on the trail behind me. Most have given up and gone home or found another trail to try. Not me though. I’m holding the first draft of my manuscript like a bright shiny penny. I’m proud of myself! This is a great accomplishment!
Trail Marker 2, 3,4, ?? – All those other Drafts: The characters have taken on a life of their own. My plot has become more cohesive with each draft. The penny may not be as shiny, but I’m holding on to it with a faith that is unshakeable. Nothing can stop me as I climb!
Trail Marker – The Final Edit (aka I think I may vomit or pass out or both): I can see the summit, but there are miles to go and they’re all up hill. At this point, I usually feel like sitting on a rock and putting my head in my hands. This is when I question why I started writing the damn book. This is the point I feel like quitting. The characters are no longer endearing. The plot doesn’t thrill me anymore. I just want to get off this mountain and start climbing the next one.
Scenic Overlook – Perfection (aka The Cliff): Perfection is an unachievable goal. In the software industry they use the saying “There is no such thing as Zero Defects” and they’re right. You know you’ve finished your manuscript when you’ve reached and then surpassed your current skill level. Challenge yourself as much as possible, but know all skills take growth and practice.
Trail Marker – I’ve reached the Summit! Wrong! The summit was an illusion. Stop admiring the view. I still need to climb Publisher Peak and find my way through Marketing Maze. I won’t despair though. When I look just over my right shoulder, I see a brand new trail. It looks really fun. Hey! Is that a penny?