#SaysTheEditor: Slogging Through


The Thursday running up to Week Fourteen hit me hard. Really hard. Like: three naps in one day hard.

Healing is like this. It’s tricky stuff, if you think about it.

I’ve had a million and three orthopedic injuries. Usually, by week 14, you’re out of the cast, if there was one, into the brace, and deep into rehab (or, if you’re me, you’ve finally admitted defeat and been to see the doctor). There’s some sort of progress you can measure, be it number of appointments or number of reps, or even pain-free days.

Eye injuries aren’t like that. Not even close. And so, being in the middle of the healing process is that much harder.

It reminds me of the drafting progress, when writing that bad (or sloppy or whatever you’d like to call it) first draft turns into less writing and more slogging through. When all you can do is keep putting foot in front of foot, word in front of word.

This is the time to give yourself permission to do what it takes. Three naps. Write absolute garbage. Write more garbage. Take another nap. Keep on slogging through.

The only way to reach the end is to pass through the middle. It really and truly is.

The good news is that for writers, there’s this magic process called revision, where you can erase all signs of slogging through. This is why writing is a craft, folks. You get to reshape, modify, perfect your words, your ideas, your characterization, your plot points, your tension. You get a do-over, as many as you think you need. And this is a good. Putting in the hard hours, taking a walk to chew over a turn of phrase, changing things, asking, “What if this happens instead?” or “What do you mean that’s Tom who does that, not Harry?”

In this, writing’s got one up on healing. Because when healing, all I can do is take another nap. And while it may be good for the body, it’s hard to quantify in notes to a client, in revisions of my own fiction.

It’s hard, this slogging through. No one said it was easy… but then again, aren’t the best things in life the things you work hardest to obtain?

Take a nap. Write garbage. Keep on slogging through.


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