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Polishing a book for some is harder than writing it the first time. I write fairly fast, and when I was first starting out, I sent an email to Diana Gabaldon, asking her about her writing process. She was gracious to answer me. Aside from her writing into the wee hours of the morning, beginning after her family had gone to bed (I relate now but at the time it gave me a heart attack), her greatest tip to me was in the polishing.

“That’s where the real jewels, richness and texture of the book happens,” she said. Because I don’t read very fast, editing can sometimes be a challenge. It’s taken me a long time to accept that my reading skill level is a disability. I can write like the wind, but editing? Hard to do. I’ve struggled with reading my whole life. It affected my career, what courses I could take in college. I understand what others feel who are handicapped in some way, because I am too. I am floored when readers say they read 1000 books a year. I’d be lucky to read 1000 books in my lifetime.

I get easily distracted by anything. My chickens used to distract me. My garden. The dogs. I usually have to write to instrumental music, and only certain kinds of music work. I like candles. I dress in loose clothing and put my hair up. I have my computer glasses that don’t give me a headache. I wash my hands a lot and wear scented hand cream. I wear socks. I drink lots of water and coffee. I have to work at my focus as if I was adding a table of 7 figure numbers. That’s how hard it is for me sometimes.

Today I was challenged by the guy who came to work on our brick edging on the patio. He had one of those industrial grinders working from about 8:30 on. Around 11:00 I was seeing double. So I packed up my computer and worked down at the office for a few hours.

I rewrote a couple of love scenes and that helped. When I stay connected to the passion of the story, the heart of the love story, which is always about the couple, and usually about the relationship as well as the sex that describes their relationship, I can use that energy to finish and work on the rest of the book. In fact, in some of my books, I write the heaviest love scene first, to see how the couple develops organically on paper. I love to feel them evolve through my writing.

There is no rushing of this process, just like Diana Gabaldon told me years ago. I’m patient. It takes as long as it takes. I never give up or abandon a project. But I like to think that the harder ones to finish are also my better books.

We think the creative process should just “flow” and writers “get their muse” on. Nope. Sorry to say, it’s just hard work, with a lot of discipline and focus. I guess I would call it Intentional Creativity.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Take has long as you like to polish your books Sharon. We appreciate all your hard work. We all enjoy the benefits. I've read all my life. Im a average reader, with several books on the go, both books and e readers. Lately I'm loving listening to audio books.

  2. I wouldn't be able to focus reading more than one book at a time. But you keep up the reading, and I'll keep up the writing. It is a partnership, after all.

  3. I'm one of those who is likely to have 3 books going at one time. I normally have a print book I'm reading, an ebook and an audiobook at the same time. Normally these are not the same book. I normally read about 250 but this year it's harder to keep track as I've been beta reading for authors a lot it seems.
    Don't sell yourself short cause you are a slow reader. Your gift is writing and a lot of us don't have that gift. If you need to take longer to get a book out your loyal readers will still be here waiting for your wonderful stories.

    Have a great Sunday

  4. Thanks, Karen. Hmmmm. Beta reader? I didn't know that…Interested here.

    We all have different gifts, THANK GOD! I guess part of my issue is I'm always thinking about the next story while I'm editing the last one. I do think it's getting better, though, the more books I write. But it's still a challenge.

  5. The world would be boring if we all had the same gifts. You ever need help you contact me.

  6. All of us have some kind of battle to wage of some kind. I am glad I discovered your books and your blogs. Even thru the blogs, I can see that you have a talent with words and what I say to all my fave authors, you don't have time to read because your readers want more of your words 😀 Being a beta reader and helping with edits I realized it is hard work to polish a story, but at the end it is so satisfying, isn't it? Keep writing, polishing and I will be a happy reader.

  7. Awesome, Eni! I may take you up on that…Yes, it is satisfying. Kinda like childbirth, in a way. But the outcome last forever, or hopefully so…Always enjoy seeing you here.

  8. Nothing in this world that is great ever happens without patience, discipline and just plain hard work. You have proven over and over again that you have everything it takes to create masterpieces that touch the very hearts of the masses. You have such a God given gift. I myself am very handicapped in the sense that I can only focus on one thing at a time. When I was 12 years old, I was the chess champion of my county. Thinking back, the reason for that was when I played a chess match, there was only two people in the room. There were no distractions and I could focus on that one thing. That's what I love so much about narrating your books. I go into my little recording studio, block out everything else that's going on in my life and focus on the world that you have created in your story. A world that takes me to a place where I want to be and away from everything that I don't want to focus on. I am happiest when I am in that place. The place that you have created from your heart and your heightened sense of awareness. I thank you for being the creative person that you are. I thank you for your honesty in this blog. I thank the universe for divinely putting us on a path together. You are a rare jewel and I am so privileged to know you and have you in my life. Bless you Sharon Hamilton and all the good that you do for so many people.

  9. Ahhh, J.D., you bring tears to my eyes. I can't tell you enough how grateful we have found each other, that I get to spend so much of my creative time and fantasy life walking down that path with you. It is truly a miracle, and it has surpassed my wildest dreams (and I have pretty wild dreams!) Your friendship and belief in me is totally supporting my muse, and my desire to just be the best I can be. When I have someone like you in my corner, there is no possibility I can fail. Life isn't perfect, but our friendship and love surely is.

    Always, my pirate. Always.

  10. With a tear in me eye and a smile on me face, knowing the waters of life be choppy at times and we be doubtin the winds will be blowin our way, I be certain of what is me north star. Our love and friendship be me north start that shines brightly and points the way to our destination of shangri-la, where everything be ye possible and beyond wildest dreams. We be sailin'. Always.

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