Evaluating the Process

Eight and a half months. That’s how long it has taken to birth my second to-be-published novel. That doesn’t mean it is ready for press by any means. It just means the story has left my brain and taken up permanent residence on the page. Now begins the arduous task of getting feedback—first from my critique group, then after I make changes based on their suggestions and observations, from my editors at Bethany House.

As I look back over these past few months, I’ve evaluated my process of taking a story from a paragraph of a concept to a whole, written book. It has been a huge learning process. Though my first book took me almost the same amount of time to write, I had done most of the research years earlier. The time frame on this one encompassed both research and writing. I realize now that thinking and planning time is important. Even if it doesn’t feel like work, it is very important work. If done up front, it can quash some of the hair-pulling moments of making sense of the first draft in revisions. I discovered that setting reasonable goals is less stressful than setting extraordinary ones. And I learned that patience is necessary at every stage of the process. Word upon word, page upon page, emulating the tortoise, not the hare, a book finally emerges.

Do you evaluate your work habits on occasion, looking for ways to be more productive? What kinds of tasks are you learning to do more efficiently—or perhaps what kinds of tasks are reshaping your character so that you can do all your work more peacefully?


C. Alvarez said...

For me, my lifelong "self betterment" has included developing tact. I have always been honest....often to the point of "cruelty" without meaning to be so. I have learned over the years that there is a world of difference between telling someone who asks...do I look good in this?....NO IT LOOKS HORRIBLE ON YOU, NEVER WEAR IT AGAIN! And telling them something more gentle, like You know, the purple is a color that suits your complexion better than orange, and I especially like the cut of (whatever type of clothing accentuates them best), you should stay with those colors and cuts. They are both honest, but one is much less hurtful than the other.

Anne Mateer said...

And I still work on the opposite, C.--actually saying what I think instead of saying what I think people want to hear! At least knowing how we operate is half the battle toward changing it!