As I look forward to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I find myself both feeling thankful for and resistant to one thing we often overlook: time.
If you know me at all, you know that patience is not among my virtues! My favorite thing to be is done, and then it’s all about the what’s next? Yet this year, I find myself appreciating the power of time as I near completion of a draft of Night School, a novel I began in early 2019. Yes, you saw that right … I began this project nearly three years ago, although I have not been working on it continually.
Last year, in August 2020, I “abandoned” the book because, after multiple drafts, I still couldn’t get it right. The truth was that between four drafts that were all starting to blur together, a busy election year, and a pandemic, my brain was not in the right place to finish it. So I wandered away, wrote Knot of Souls (which will begin an agent hunt early next year), and then started wandering in circles, wondering what to write next. And I have a few ideas, but first, I kept feeling the need to reread that old, broken, abandoned draft of Night School. And do you know what I found out?
The only thing the book needed was time and distance. Time for me to move on, space for me to begin feeling objective. Nothing else, certainly no amount of brute force, could have done the trick. As of right now, I am two or three chapters from “The End” (depending upon whether I decide to write an epilogue), and I have learned an important lesson about when to walk away from a project … and when to return.
Night School will still need more in-depth revisions than usual, thanks in large part to many drafts creating a bit of a patchwork quilt of writing quality, but I do believe it will join Knot of Souls in an agent hunt sometime in 2022.
So this year, I am thankful for time, some of which I will be offering to my family this week.