I have some news, y’all! After five years of revisions, years during which I had my heart broken, moved across the country, had my heart fixed (which can take quite as long, or longer, than the breaking, though is much more fun), and became a caregiver to a newly ill family member*… my novel, girlchild, has officially made it onto the calendar at my publishing house!
Through all of these life adventures, my editor C-Love and I had sent my manuscript back and forth, and no matter what was going on in my life or how I thought it merited me much petting and cookies, C-Love held firm, insisting that there was more work to do. And despite my need for soft words and peanut-butter chocolate-chip goodness, and despite often feeling that it was all a terrible idea, that I was on empty, and that the fact that I’d even made it this far was a long complicated joke on the part of the universe, cosmic hilarity, “A first-time novelist walks into a bar…” I knew C-Love was right.
A friend who has been working on a script of my novel, with hopes of sending it to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, had this to say when I told him the pub date news: “This is the greatest day of your life.” Though there have been some beautiful days in my life, Scriptwriter Friend has a point. I earned this day and that does make it feel pretty darn great.
With that in mind, I want to give a shout out to everyone toiling away in the revision tunnel and say: there is a light at the end and it is so bright it will outshine many others, perhaps even the first twinkle of inspiration or the glorious shine on the day you sell the thing. So keep your pens to the grindstones (and your metaphors in the mixer!) because you can do this. The universe has a great sense of humor but our lives are not its punchlines. One day you will stumble out of the revision tunnel squinting, perhaps you’ll collapse a bit or cry (oh man, I did), but you will never regret the work you did in there and we’ll all be here with hugs and high fives when you get out. Not to mention, massive amounts of cookies.
Final edits have taken the place of the awesome script I was going to write for Script Frenzy but I will still be hard at work on words this April right alongside you and would love to know what keeps you pushing through the less-than-bright moments! Who or what is your go-to inspiration? For those of you in the Revision Tunnel, or other underground writing bunker of your choosing, what keeps you going when the going is tough and cookies are scarce?
* Dramatic details included as evidence of tunnel’s particular length and darkness.