An Update on LONG ROAD HOME and Other Words From the Heart

To say I’ve been slack in the blogging department is an understatement. I’ve only blogged once this year, but to my credit, I’ve been working hard on Long Road Home. I’m almost done with changing the first fifteen chapters from third person to first person. It’s not been as hard as I thought it would be, but it’s definitely been time consuming. The story flows nicely with the change, and I just wish I had realized this sooner, but oh well, such is the writer’s life. I should finish with the POV conversion this week and then guess what I get to do…

FINISH THE STORY!!

So much of the plot has changed with this edit and I look forward to seeing where the rest of the story goes. I have no clue how it will end yet, so it will literally form with each word I write. I have a few ideas, but Amelia and the other characters will be the ones who have the last say. Letting the characters drive the story has always been better than me forcing a story onto them. I learned that lesson a few edits ago.

The best part about this rewrite is I honestly feel it’s the last one. Yes, I’ll have to get it professionally edited again, and then do more tweaking, but for the most part, I’m happy with all the major changes I’ve made with both the characters and the storyline.

If you would’ve asked me four years ago if I thought I would change the original story so much and so many times, I would’ve said, “Hell, no. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.” But that would’ve been pure naiveté on my part. Do I miss the original story? Not one bit, and it’s because it’s still a part of me, and bits and pieces are still in Long Road Home. I feel what inspires a book to be written never goes away or vanishes, no matter how many times it’s edited.

It’s been very important for me to stay open to changes and to learn as many new things about how to write a book as I can. The story has grown in a way I never expected and it’s because I haven’t been scared to start over, rip it apart, add, take away, change POV’s, etc… It may not be a New York Times Best Seller, but it’s so much better than where it started and I’m happy with the progress.

I had someone ask me recently, “What’s been one of the hardest obstacles to overcome while writing your first book?’

And I answered, “Trying not to compare myself to other writers and authors.”

I have to say, I still do it. I think most writers/authors do it in some form or fashion, but for me, the key is to not let it discourage or stop me from writing my story. There are so many times I feel my writing is subpar and isn’t good enough to put out to the world, but the one thing I have that no one else does is MY story. Nobody else can write it but me, and that alone, makes me special in the big, big world of writers. I’ve finally chosen to embrace this and let it carry me through the journey of writing my first book, knowing it will also carry me through all the other books I hope to write.

After talking to many authors, there’s no doubt we beat ourselves up more than we praise ourselves. I think it’s just a part of who we are as creative people and it’s a part of the writing process. Putting our work out there for all to see is intimidating and scary, but it’s our ultimate goal, so we have to learn to love the words we write and take the huge leap of faith that others will fall in love with them too.

One last thing:

You’ll never get where you want to go if you’re always selling yourself short. If you work outside your comfort zone and aim high every time, you’ll never regret where you end up. Love your story and never stop writing it. There’s always an audience for your words. Always.

Until next time…

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Filed under January 2011

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