It's never too late - in fiction or in life - to revise.
That statement has been in my thoughts a lot since I read it. I even looked in the dictionary to find synonyms for revise. Change, rewrite, correct—all these words mean the same. They’re also part of the writer’s vocabulary. Getting the words down on paper is just the first step. The real work comes afterwards in the rewrites, corrections, and the editing.
I’ve been doing some revisions on my WIP recently, and it brought to mind the title of a movie some years ago—The Never-Ending Story. I think that’s what my latest novel could be. Every time I reread what I’ve written, something jumps from the page that makes me wonder who inhabited my body when I penned those words. Sentences that I once thought were filled with deep emotion and thought-provoking ideas suddenly seem trite and silly. With one click they disappear and leave a void on the page that must be filled with something meaningful and worthy of a published author.
A multi-published author once said in a workshop I attended that a writer could never quit editing what he/she had written. Rather, there had to come a point when the work was abandoned. I’ve thought about that, too, and I can see the logic of the statement when it refers to something we’re creating. When it comes to life, though, that’s an entirely different matter.
The second part of the quote about revising holds the key to what makes for success and happiness in life. We've all known people who embarked upon new ventures late in life or those who made drastic changes in lifestyle. Agnes Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) was almost eighty years old when she sold her first painting. Richard Simmons lost 123 pounds and became a standard bearer for health and physical fitness. John Newton was a slave trader until he was converted and penned Amazing Grace. We’ve also known those who gave up their dreams, like the abandoned literary piece, and settled down to live out their days without ever having reached for what might have been within their grasp.
For the past few years I’ve been revising my life. After thirty-three years in education I retired to pursue something different—writing. It had been a life-long dream, but I’d hidden it away until I could find time for it. I’d used excuses like—when the children are grown, when the mortgage is paid off, when I retire. As Yul Brynner said in the King and I, “Etc., etc., etc.”
Yeah, I had all the etceteras in my life, and I embraced every one of them. Then one night it occurred to me that life is fleeting. If I wanted to write a book, I needed to get on with it. I went to the computer and began to write, just write. The idea for a book began to materialize, and months later I’d completed a 95,000 word historical romance. That book has never sold, but I did get an agent with it. I found ACFW (ACRW at the time) and met new friends who had the same dream. At an ACFW conference I met Susan Downs who would later buy my first book.
God was faithful and good to me as I pursued my dream, and He’s been right there with me. There’ve been a few detours, like the heart attack I suffered, but He was with me through that and blessed me with a renewed commitment to live life to the fullest. And I haven’t slowed down since. The journey has been filled with excitement, fulfillment, and disappointments, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. It’s been a thrilling trip!
But what about you? Do you have a dream that you want to accomplish in your life? Don’t squander your days putting off something that seems overwhelming or too difficult to accomplish. You’ve already got a great supporter on your side. With His help you can accomplish those things you would never be able to do on your own whether it's write a book, change a habit, or surrender your will to Him. You won’t be sorry.
So what are you waiting for? Revise, revise, revise.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Sandra Robbins' first book released this year from Barbour Publishing in its new Heartsong Presents Mysteries.
Pedigreed Bloodlines is a cozy mystery set in the fictional Smoky Mountain Resort town of St. Claire, North Carolina and introduces Leigh Dennison as the antique dealer turned sleuth when the woman who has been like a mother to her is murdered. Leigh who struggles with ADD, her best friend Marcie Payton, and Blake Cameron, the love of her life, will return in two more adventures. Find out more at Sandra's website: http://sandrarobbins.net/
and Sandra's blog: http://www.sandrarobb.blogspot.com/