By Andrea Grigg
What comes to mind when you read that word? A dog with its teeth bared in a growl as it pulls on a rope? A limpet on a rock? Incy-Wincy spider?
How about a writer bent over a laptop?!?
Writing (no matter which genre) is not for the faint-hearted, or so I’ve discovered. And having said that, take a look at this. I laughed out loud when it popped up on Facebook recently …
Oh, yeah, that’s me alright! Now, back to the point I’m trying to make.
My first novel poured out of me like lava down a mountain. I relished the planning process (I’m a plotter for sure) and spent hours researching and making folders full of images and research notes.
I fell in love with my characters; I delighted in the way they told me what to write and changed the dialogue right under my fingertips. I even savoured the editing process, chopping and rearranging sentences and words a gazillion times, thrilled when my ‘baby’ was finally mature enough to appear in public.
So what happened this time?
Again, I love my characters to bits. I know them inside out and back to front – ask me anything about them and I can tell you. My files are full of interesting facts and pictures. During the editing process I’ve had a blast getting rid of thousands (yes, thousands!) of words because the story is so much better without them.
I’ve been in the zone, hidden in my cave, delighted in being in a parallel world … but it has taken for-ev-er.
I’ve literally growled at my laptop and figuratively thrown it away. I’ve been kept awake at nights by an elusive phrase, paragraph or scene, and then fallen asleep over the keyboard the next day. (One time I ended up with half a page of ‘k’s when I dozed off. Some clever person suggested they should’ve been ‘z’s …)
I have sniffed, sighed and seethed with frustration, and vented via FaceTime with my wonderful writing buddy across the Tasman. While she deserves a national holiday named in her honour, I should be awarded a PhD in procrastination. It got so bad I even did the dusting!
Why was it a worthwhile experience, one I'd be happy to repeat?
Because it taught me perseverance (a character trait mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5).
Because I now really appreciate and empathise with other writers about the effort needed to produce a book.
Because I now know that my passion for writing has been tested and tried and has cemented its place in my heart.
I’ve had to be tenacious as a reader, too. I’ve been tempted to give up on a book and then been so pleased I haven’t because it delivered in the end. I love reading really long books, and that requires tenacity. I belong to a book club, and although the recommended book isn’t always my thing, it’s been good for me to persevere because it broadens my horizons.
So what part does tenacity have in your life as a writer or a reader? When have you had to grit your teeth and battle on regardless? I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
About Andrea GriggAndrea writes contemporary romance. Her second novel Too Pretty will be released on August 1 by Rhiza Press. Her first novel A Simple Mistake was a finalist in the CALEB Awards 2012
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