The other day I thought to myself, Self? Why do you bother? If you close this laptop and stop knocking your head against the wall, it will not cause a ripple in the real world.
But then I remembered why I bother. I remembered the readers I'm trying to reach, and how they deserve a worthy story. But on a personal level, I remembered the joy of the challenge, and the blissful satisfaction I feel when I get it right.
I liken my current manuscript to a cotton shirt that's been sitting in the bottom of the laundry basket. A shirt with nooks and tucks and crevices, with wrinkles big and small. I have a warm iron, and I press, press, press that shirt. Some of the wrinkles soften, but don't disappear. But if I adjust that iron, amp up the heat, that will help. If I add water for steam and press harder, that will help. More than anything else, I need to take my time and work out the wrinkles.
I also need to remember that my last book used to be a wrinkled mess as well. And I need to remember how much time it took to smooth out the rough spots and add interest. And I need to remember how awesome it felt when I read the final passages and thought, Wow, I did it.
We can all remember this: our story worlds, our characters, our plots were created by us. They wouldn't have existed otherwise, and the exact books won't exist again. Our story wrinkles are temporary, and if we're willing to take the time to smooth them out, we'll be glad in the end.
Writing good fiction is quite a challenge, but we can focus on those times when we're inspired and the words flow. Or even when we aren't inspired and we write anyway. And we can focus on the times when we tweak and tweak and tweak until the sentence works so well you get that squishy feeling in your stomach, or your eyes well with tears.
Yep, that's what I'm focusing on now as I struggle through this revision. How about you? Have you ever wondered what's the point? Do you then remember the challenge and satisfaction?