I keep writing. I never write as much as I want to, but I usually make my goals. Writing is some silent, lonely business. It's about focusing for thousands of hours for the love of the art. What art? For me, storytelling. It's about not procrastinating. You sit in a chair and out flows one word after another. You do this day after. I keep bottle of Tylenol nearby, because my hips can't take the stress. I have an adjustable table, so I can do some of the work standing up. I never let my wrists touch the keyboard for fear that I will get carpal tunnel syndrome. My first drafts are mediocre, ponderous and riddled with plot holes. I keep writing. In the sum of what I am doing -- this is where the brilliance dwells.
For a long time it's just been me. But times change and somewhere along the road, editors have begun nosing their way into my art. And believe me, after you have sat in a chair for a quadrillion hours, stood on your feet for another quadrillion hours, all so you can write a moving story; you really don't want to hear, "What about that elephant in the first scene?. Are you trying to imply all the people in a certain place near Norway have pachyderms?" Uh, no.
It's a shocking feeling when someone criticizes your work. My first reaction is a long diatribe complaining about how I put this through critique. I read it aloud. I had intent and purpose for every word I wrote. I layered in meaning and kept my eye on language. I cared. Really. And who exactly on the planet would think that all the people in a certain place near Norway would have pachyderms? Dude, my readers are smart, savvy folk. My next step is deleting all my complaints and answering the editor's question. I keep writing.
Editors are another part of the writing process. Do they help? Yep. There's nothing worse than an editor who won't complain. Having someone come at my story with a magnifying glass and sharp, critical eye certainly helps me wake up and smell the coffee. I'll try harder next time. I dig deeper this time. It's all part of the process. I just keep writing.
And stories are told.
Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill. Edmund Morrison