Pruning hurts, but for continued growth it’s necessary. I think pruning may be most painful when you love what you have to cut away, those things you thought were beautiful. When you didn’t even know the overgrowth was a bad thing, the shock of pruning is depressing.
I sure wish I was talking about gardening. Instead, I’m talking about my skill in writing and how things will have to change in order for me to take the next step in publishing.
After I wrote Unmending the Veil, a friend had an editor where she worked take a look at it. They passed. Rather than feeling discouraged, I decided to keep moving forward. Because I believed in the story, I decided to create my own little publishing company and publish it. From there, I just kept writing and publishing. I loved the idea that I could write what I wanted when I wanted. There’s freedom in indy publishing that you never have in traditional publishing.
What happens, though, when you find you’ve bumped into a wall? Now, in order to reach a broader market, I know that I will have to pursue traditional publishing. The problem for me is this: they have expectations for writing style, what seems minimalist to me, that will change how I write.
I’m too flowery and tell more about emotions than what’s allowed. Editors want me to show emotion through actions and dialogue. I get that. But there’s something about me that loves to explore and express emotions in my characters’ heads. I have to stop that. Ugh! That’s the hardest to prune. I love living in people’s heads.
When I write, I follow the point of view of more than one character in a scene. That’s a big no no. Maybe I’m just nosy, but I like knowing what everyone is thinking and feeling as the scene unfolds. Sigh. No more of that. It’s called head-hopping.
So, I’m entering a season of pruning in my writing. This hurts. It seriously hurts inside. There’s this inner rebel inside of me that wants to keep doing things my way. On the other hand, I want to keep moving forward in this journey. If you aren’t growing then you simply grow stagnant. I don’t want that to happen to me.
Please pray for me. I have to now go back and prune Unmending the Veil in order to pitch to a publisher. That will involve deconstructing and reconstructing the entire novel. I’m afraid I will lose the depth and emotion that made the story so touching. Seriously, this is hard.
I stand now looking at a fork in the road. One direction is nice and comfy – it’s the easier path and feeds my inner rebel. The other is super uncomfortable and makes me squirm – just as God’s new direction often does. Bottom line? A broader reach is Kingdom work. I choose the King and Kingdom.