In the continuing saga of me and my manuscript ...
Well, I did finish my revisions … a little over my deadline of May 31st but not by too much, and with good reasons for running late (a revolving door of sick family members being one of them) so I’m happy with that. Even better, I got everything done just in time to pack my bags and head off for a vacation … to Paris.
Here's the proof.
("Children? What children?")
Ah, Paris. The city I’ve longed to visit ever since I can remember and the setting of my book, no less. I spent my ten days there pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, and have come back with a ton of fodder for my book and with my batteries fully recharged for another round of revisions.
And I mean revisions; not the wholesale re-writing that the last few go-throughs of my manuscript has entailed, which I’m mighty happy about. I’ve chiseled away enough of the first (and second, and third and fourth ...) draft of my manuscript and can now see the full shape of my story. It’s lumpy and bumpy and in need of a good smoothing over and final polish, that’s for sure, but at least I’m at the stage where I’m swapping the heavy duty mallet and chisel work for the finer rasp and file business.
Anyways … rolling up my sleeves to get stuck into my manuscript once again got me thinking about the things that help keep up our enthusiasm for projects that take a long time to come to fruition. For it can start to seem all too hard and pointless, especially when the creative well has run dry or that vinegar-lipped lady is on your shoulder sniping that your writing is crap.
One thing that works for me it to step back from the keyboard, to go out into the world and visit museums and art galleries, take walks in the park, listen to music or catch a movie (or, cough, go to Paris), all of which serve to clear my mind and top up my creative juices so that I come back to my writing with renewed drive and fresh perspective.
But when I don’t have the time or the ability to do these things, my bookshelf is my best battery re-charger. I have a handful of authors whose works I can dip into, just for a page or so, and I’m guaranteed to come away awed and inspired. Their writing grabs me, reminds me of what I’m aspiring to, and the swell of excitement and hope that I feel compels me to get my butt back into my chair and write.
Not every writer does this for me, but a few are guaranteed to. Writers such as Deanna Raybourne, Jo Bourne, C.S. Harris, Ariana Franklin, Thomas Harris, Sarah Waters, Louis Bayard, Imogen Robertson, Geraldine Brooks, to name but a few.
And all the ladies here at ATWOP, of course.
I know some might find it a depressing exercise to read polished, published work, then dive into the hot festering messes they’re working on, but I don’t. They urge me on to do better, and to ignore that vinegar-lipped bitch and write some more.
So tell me: whose work inspires you?