My New Writing Mantra: Keep Buggering On

keep calmBy Lisa Alber

A few weeks back I found myself driving and whimpering with anxiety. I’d been struggling with the ending of my current first draft. I knew the whodunnit and the whydunnit and the howdunnit, so … why wasn’t the ending falling into place?

I realized that instead of wasting my time trying to shoehorn an ending into what I had, I needed to rethink everything before it! Great, after all these months of writing, *now* I realized I might have huge plot issues?

I decided to start the revision process. So, here I am revising without having gotten to “the end.” It’s the writing equivalent of “keep buggering on,” as Winston Churchill now famously said. I’m cutting ten percent off the top, BAM, because I overwrite my first drafts. In the process, I’m honing in on character motivations and emotions, which can only help me when I face the “the end” once again.

In fact, yesterday I had a little blip of a thought, an idea for a scene near the end. The oh-yeah feeling hit me — excitement! — so I wrote down my idea, and now I’m looking forward to getting there.

I like looking forward to things, whether they be endings, parties, travel, or holing up to read someone else’s novel. But ultimately, to get the work done, I need to return to the moment I’m in with this scene, right now.

And keep buggering on. Seems to me that this is what writing is really all about.

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