I have been struggling to edit my novel for a couple of months. Yesterday, I forced myself to shut down everything on my computer except Word to minimize distractions. Two kids were asleep and one was at preschool. All I had to do is write. I told myself I could get up from my chair only to get another cup of coffee or when one chapter was completed.
On Monday, I planned out exactly the changes I needed to make to existing chapters and the ones I needed to add. It was a little overwhelming. Overwhelming to the point I wondered whether I should walk away from it and give it more space.
Yesterday I worked up some determination and wrote one chapter. Once I got started, it seemed to write itself. My character's marriage is starting to fall apart a little, something I hinted at in the original version but only included in the first few chapters. This new chapter only has the main character and her husband in it. I can see now that it really needed to be added. The chapter took some turns I didn't expect, that I didn't plan out in my mind before I wrote it.
Within minutes I was lost in it. Any worries I had about finishing this story or the amount of work it will take to do revisions was vanished within two sentences - completely gone without a trace.
I think sometimes as writers we think there's magic to writing. It's easy to think that if I'm having a bad day, my story might turn out bad so I should wait until tomorrow. But I truly think that if I had sat down to write that chapter any day of the week, it would have gone pretty much the same way because I know who my characters are. They couldn't have behaved differently in the chapter - not a chance.
So I think it won't be so difficult to write another chapter today. And another tomorrow. And rip apart and reassemble another one on Friday. I make a commitment to myself to work on it one chapter a day for as long as it takes.
I love this story before I made these changes. I can't wait to see how it turns out when I'm done.