Yes, I’m working.

We mothers at home occasionally have to fight feeling defensive when asked if we “work.”

Sometimes I feel the the same urge to defend my writing.

With my recent explanation about my connections between music and my novel I honestly cringed at some points, expecting a voice to ask accusingly why I was wasting time linking videos or talking about my novel instead of working on it.

I felt really guilty. Because I’ve got this solid inch of paper to read and edit through, and here I am…not.

Today I talked to three different people about how I’m at this crazy crossroads with my novel. How I’ve totally revamped the time-line for a more consistent internal logic, and how I’m beginning to question the amount of spirituality conveyed or emphasized in the story.

Then with the third regurgitation (this evening, with my husband) a bunch of stuff just came completely together.

And I suddenly realized I have been working this whole time. The music, the listening, the thinking, the saying something (over and over) until it made sense.

This is how storytelling works.

You tell and retell, because it’s refined each time as your brain tweaks and keeps the best parts for the next telling.

I talked for maybe half an hour (the longest so far) about my proposed changes, and Jay didn’t have any corrections. “Sounds good,” he said. “I like it.”

I love living with someone who’s read my stuff. It makes big questions and shifts like these so much easier to talk about.

So I started writing the skeleton of changes and ended up with over 1300 words in one sitting.

I still don’t know if I’ll start working through my manuscript when my children are awake (something I’ve been avoiding so far) but at least now I know better where I’m going, and this editing isn’t just walking into a dark tunnel.

Trust me, I’m working.

3 thoughts on “Yes, I’m working.

  1. I see this process firsthand, having a storyteller as a husband. We’ll experience a situation, then later Matthew will recognize it as a good anecdote and relate it to someone. I can “hear” him sounding out the details for which are the most salient. Then he’ll tell it to someone else, further refined and funnier. Then to a third person, then eventuaaly the story reaches its mostly codified version and passes into the repertoir of Miller lore. He continues to make tweaks as needed. Sometimes he’ll pull out an older anecdote and stumble on a new punchline or twist that gets added to the codex. He sometimes worries outloud that I’ll get bored being the one who hears all the stories over and over, but I find the evolutionary/formational process quite interesting,

  2. I guess it’s like being a parent; whether you know it or not, you’re always thinking of, caring for, and protecting your children — same with the artistic process, it’s part of you…

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