This is where my newbie status reared its ugly head.
I thought I knew how to edit, when really I knew how to figgle with a story (figgle= trying to improve the quality of the entire arc by picking away at the small stuff.)
It was hard, hitting that wall. I still feel bruised. I remember thinking when I read that wonderful email... just how am I supposed to do this? How?
After that, everything I wrote seemed like garbage. I questioned every word, every thought...so afraid no matter what I wrote, no matter how well crafted it would end up like before. NEEDING TO BE REWRITTEN WHICH I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO DO!
I couldn't write. It wasn't productive to keep trying, so, I took a break and did only what felt doable. Like spending time imagining the story at a deeper level, and filling a notebook with pages and pages of ideas, thoughts, questions, tearing the character and plot apart, only to rebuild it.
I didn't write in full sentences. I couldn't.
You may have noticed some large gaps in my blog posts. They coincide with this period. Was I full of self-doubt and tormented at the thought of that editor, patiently (???) waiting for me to do a complete rewrite? You betcha. Could I do anything about it?
Nope. I couldn't even write a stinking post.
Then a funny thing happened just last week. I was pulling out my hair, trying to get the damned story to focus, when I realized I was beginning to hate it. Not too strong a word. Trust me. I HATED IT.
So, I put it aside, which just about killed me, and panicked at the image of that editor, calmly moving on.
I was miserable one day, sitting at my computer made me more miserable, and then I remembered I'd loaded one of my other stories onto an email and decided to give a poke on my phone. Did I pray to the Muse Gods that it would spark my confidence?
And wow. What a blast. I couldn't believe how much I'd written, and how good it was! It felt like a curtain pulled back, revealing the real me! I was a writer, damn it, and a good one, or at least good enough to face this challenge.
After a week of working on that story (another 10,000 words closer to completion, thank you very much), my mind unlocked, and suddenly I was pulled back to the original ya fantasy. And now, as I finish chapter 4 (all full sentences), and write this post, I feel my confidence returning.
What I've taken from this experience? Managing expectations.
I didn't want to, I was forced to honor my creative spirit and value the times when it's screaming for a break. I may have expected to have this story crafted and back in the hands of that waiting editor pronto, but it couldn't happen at the pace I set. It'll get done. And the story will be stronger.
Because I am stronger now.
I wish you all happy writing, in whatever form it takes.