Lately I find myself trapped between my two least-favorite parts of writing a book. Detailed research, and detailed editing.

Most of the time, this is what detailed research looks like…

N Watts Street3WIN_20170625_18581511Chicos Hideout-ground

I know, a lot of Google Street View. I pour over garbage cans and cracks in the sidewalk as if they were keys to the treasure chest of inspiration and accuracy. Until my eyes are so tired the buildings on the screen start melting in front of me. Like a lost stalker with a severe case of jet lag. Wait, didn’t I pass that house an hour ago? 

As much as I love learning new things, especially things related to my characters, after a couple weeks I found myself scribbling the same thing in my writing journal almost every night. “I miss writing.”

So I got back to writing. But I soon discovered that writing, in this case, is detailed editing (and I don’t mean punctuation and grammar either.) Plot and scenes are staying generally the same (though I’m fine-tuning the setting), but almost every sentence needs to be completely rewritten, with more creative structure, better word choices, “show don’t tell”, and so on. It’s the cracks in the sidewalk again–the little tiny details no one would think of, but when combined make a world of difference. It goes very slowly for me. A page an hour, working hard. Wow. I’ve always been a fast writer and I guess now I’m paying for it.

Although my summer is starting to get extremely busy, leaving little time to write at all, when I do find a moment this is how it goes: Research, editing, research, staring at a screen as I whisper the words to the song that’s playing.

Who knows…?
Is this the start of something wonderful and new?
Or one more dream that I cannot make true

But God is teaching me, through all of this, not only perseverance and patience, but hope. Hope that’s not grounded in how accurate my story is, or who says they’re interested, or how many people look forward to reading it. When I put my hope in those kinds of things I’m always going to be disappointed. There’s only One I will hope in, will hope for. One I will keep working for, no matter what the outcome. And whatever the outcome, if I hope in Him, I won’t be let down.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 42:5)

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2 thoughts on “Cracks in the Sidewalk

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