Yesterday I was thinking about boredom.
For the last couple days I’ve been revising each scene in my current draft, slowly and carefully, rewriting as I went. But then yesterday I found that I was breezing by the scenes quickly, not taking the time to revise or even to read them carefully. I was bored with these scenes. But was I bored because I’ve read these scenes a million times, or was it a sign of a deeper problem?
Breezing through the scenes was my way of avoiding the problem. Upon closer look, I realized what it was: they felt like leftovers, remnants of what this book used to be before my last big revision. They aren’t a part of the shiny new creature that this book is – hopefully – transforming into. Realizing this was frustrating – more work to do, the end farther away – but ultimately liberating. Once I figured out (for this draft, at least) how to rewrite the scenes and what to cut, I was able to move forward.
Revising can be a long, slow process. My focus can be great one day and falter the next. That’s when doubt seeps in – the most common, and most dangerous affliction for any writer. I have no words of wisdom, no cure, but to say that I’ve been there – and I managed to pull myself out of it. I think most writers would agree that they’ve been there, too.
Today in history: May 30, 1536 King Henry VIII married his third wife, Jane Seymour (Anne Boleyn had been executed on May 20). Jane didn’t live long as queen, but she did give birth to Prince Edward, the son Henry so desired to inherit his throne.
Also, on this date in 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake at the age of nineteen. She said she heard the voices of Saints telling her to drive the English out of her native France. She succeeded in leading the French in battle, but was captured by the English and condemned for heresy. In 1920 she was canonized as a saint by Pope Benedict XV. Today is her feast day.