Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My summer goal- a little mountain climbing

            We are three days into our summer break from home schooling.  I have encouraged the children to come up with some summer goals.  I am encouraging (read- requiring) them to enter at least one contest this summer.  I have heard about three so far- one is a writing contest for the local library, which I, myself, am planning to enter as well, the other two are home school contests- a photography one and another writing one.  Here are some links if you are interested… one, two, and three.

My own summer goals include, first and foremost, editing the novel I wrote back in November during NaNoWriMo 2012.  My 53,000+ word effort has been sitting untouched in my “my documents” folder for months and months.  This summer, I have no excuses- no schooling to keep up with, no more trips planned, no outside distractions pulling me away from my computer.  This is the time to tackle that monumental project that has been quietly calling me for months and making me feel overwhelmed and guilty all at once.

The problem with editing is that it requires a bit of distance-- an ability to be detached and unemotional and willing to cut.  I struggle with that.  I read my words, the words I so painstakingly chose and sculpted into a story (albeit a really rough slipshod one at this point) but I feel so attached to them.  Even the parts of my story that really aren’t working, I feel a strange sort of connection with.   

I scrutinize many of the sentences that I made and the paragraphs that I formed and even though they add nothing to the plot, I hate to cut them loose so cruelly.  I look at the story as a whole and it needs so much work and so much revision, but I look at each little sentence by itself and I sort of like what I see.  I just can’t seem to bring myself to reject those superfluous, gratuitous sentences and paragraphs, even though I know they really must go.  They are like an old acquaintance- I met them, I sort of liked them, and though I have not really spent any quality time with them, I feel like they might still have the chance to find a place in my life story.

I have a few other goals I’d like to accomplish but this one- this mountain of editing and revising that I must climb- will likely take up my every waking moment for the next 2 ½ months.  I will have to really work to let go of the bad parts of my story and really work to find something so much better to take their places or my 2nd novel will be doomed to failure- forever remaining in the “my documents” folder unloved and unread.  It’s going to take a lot of tough love (and hopefully the gentle encouragement of an unemotional, outside source) but I WILL accomplish this- even if I accomplish absolutely nothing else…..

 photo credit: <a href="">kevin dooley</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. I hadn't thought about writing in this way, Kari, but I can see how difficult it would be to throw away thoughts that you have carefully articulated. They really would become a part of you, wouldn't they?

    This is where my writing falls down. I write the thoughts as they come, with no effort put into structure, and I'm lazy about editing. I find pictures much easier - I love the editing part.

    I hope you have a great holiday and that you get to finish your novel.

    God bless:-)

    1. Vicky-

      It really is so hard for me to be objective and so, so hard for me to hit that delete button. It is silly but it is sort of an emotional endeavor for me. I think because I really do want it to be the best it can be and it is not easy to find the perfect word over 53,000 times!

      Thanks so much for your well wishes! :)

      Blessings to you and yours as well, Kari

  2. Kari,

    It sounds like you're going to have a very productive summer!

    I agree that it's good to have some distance between writing a draft and beginning the editing. You could prune away all those excess sentences and ideas and store them in a folder. They might spark off more stories or posts in the future.

    I look forward to reading your next novel!

    1. Sue-

      I certainly hope our summer is productive. I have lofty goals anyway, don't I? Hopefully not too lofty.....

      I thought that after nearly 7 months it would be easy to look at my novel objectively but it isn't turning out to be easy at all. And originally I had "written this story off" as a failure- not thinking it would ever be worthy of publishing. When I took a second look though it wasn't SO bad- still I'm not 100% sure it will ever be published.

      I wonder- would you be interested in previewing it in its early form and being (one of) my "unemotional outside sources"? If you are you can contact me here or by e-mail.

      Oh- and I love your idea about saving the sentences I like that don't really work where they are. Maybe they COULD have a new life elsewhere.

      Thank you so very, very much! God Bless, Kari

    2. Kari,

      It would be an honour to preview your novel. I am not sure I am very good at critique but I could try!

      Outside sources can be of help. Whenever I read anything to my family they say, "That's great Mum!" What else would they say? I decided to send my novel to a number of other families for some proper feedback. It was risky but more useful!

      God bless!

    3. Sue-

      Thank you! My husband has agreed to read it and share his thoughts with me but, like your family, he tends to just tell me how good it is. It's great to get validation and compliments but sometimes, what I really need is some constructive criticism.

      I am hoping to have the bulk of the editing done by some time in July, so if it is okay, I will send you a copy then.

      Thanks again!

      Blessings, Kari

    4. Kari,

      That would be great! I love the new colour scheme. For a moment I thought I'd arrived at the wrong blog!



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