hell bent

I’m nearing the end of this experiment that has zigzagged its way into a manuscript. I’ve been busy slashing my words and filling in large holes. I’m affected by tunnel vision. All I can see is my screen and sentences that need better structure. Where are my transitions? This is messy. Where did that come from? Oh, I like this, but I hate that! These are my thoughts all day long. I’m fidgety and hand-wringing. I’m bleary eyed with lack of sleep. I feel a little crazy. I feel like a writer.

Some of this has been punishing. I’m digging into my past; plunging headlong into a time I’ve moved on from. Old feelings resurface, tears are shed, and deep breaths are made. It brings up questions. Most of December I asked, what’s the point? Why am I doing this? Should I keep writing this? I’m so entrenched in the past and it isn’t normally how I choose to live my life. I feel like myself, but myself from a decade ago with perspective. I can’t stop now, though. I’ve come too far and I’m reaching the end. What a waste if I let fear get in the way now. Because that’s what all the questions are about – I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of failing. I know – who isn’t? The story is really taking shape and I’m starting to think about agents and publishing and what if my book is total crap? We’ll just keep the blog and the hope of a book between us and all will be well. It’s tempting to print the pages, plunk them into a drawer, and slam it shut. I don’t have to try. But, I do. I have to try.

There’s a writing group I’m a part of. We meet downtown and pore over our work, reading and critiquing, suggesting and exclaiming. These women can write, achingly and brilliantly write. I jot down notes in my margins, happy that I’m in a chair across from them, and secretly hoping we’ll meet forever. Not only is it good for my writing, but it feeds my soul like nothing else has in a very long time. It is life-giving.

I’ve rewritten a lot of the story. I’ve gone back to the beginning and worked my way through. There’s a lot that doesn’t make it to the internet. Some of it will be saved for the book. There are pieces I can’t bring myself to throw up as ‘post’. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s wrapping up. The end is near. I can feel it. It makes me hell bent. Hell bent on finishing. Hell bent on trying. Hell bent on telling the story. That’s the bottom line of it all. I just want to tell the story.

I still couldn’t give you a solid answer, an answer to the why. I don’t know why I’m telling the story. Not really. Not definitively. People have asked and offered guesses – closure, catharsis, self help, and even entertainment. I don’t know that it’s any one of these or all of these. I only know this is the story I want to tell. And, for right now, that will have to be enough.

16 thoughts on “hell bent

  1. lisa mertins

    hi heidi, just some words of encouragement from me; i’ve been published a few times (children’s books) and it has been pure torture each time. i like to compare it to the labor leading up to childbirth. it seems to kick you around a room for what feels like forever but in the end, a miracle!

    best wishes for the energy and enthusiasm to keep on slogging!

  2. christy

    Heidi, I sooo wish we were real life friends (already – we will be one day! I’m hell bent too!). I would love to join that writers group with you – I’m betting that those women are just as thrilled to be sitting across the table from you as you are from them. They’d be crazy not to be! (Did that make sense?!~ ha!) You know what I mean! Also, I wish I were one of your best real life friends so I could be one of the lucky few reading this manuscript. I am SURE it will get published. And you’ll get on Oprah (‘s new channel), and you’ll be a best seller. But if somehow I’m wrong – which I doubt I will be – I really would love to read it one day, anyway. 🙂

    My favorite parts of this post were the description of the writers group and the line “I feel like a writer”. You ARE a writer! An AMAZING writer!

  3. linda sue

    To write a book effectively takes some people the better part of a lifetime to finish- you are so ahead of that game! You story is worthy and must be told exactly from your perspective- it is an important one and it is most compelling. Ironing out the rough bits is tedious and I do hope you are getting good help with that. I just read a book that was edited beyond read-ability and ended up in the trash, cut to sheds, hurried, dashed. Take it easy- you can take a break but stick with it- Your writing is fabulous. I LOVE every post you have written.

  4. Spenstds

    I wouldnt dare to assume as to why? you are writing this story, as you stated above, but I would say that when I read your post’s I look forward to the honesty and integrity that you write with, a real rubber meet’s the road approach, and I appreciate the fact that you would write it that way, Raw and Real.
    You are writing about yourself, and the reason we (I) like it is because it is a true account of your memories and a mirror into your personality, soul and conscience during an enormous struggle.
    Your story/book will be a source to draw on…for anyone, at anytime, during any stage of their life.
    I know, because it is for me……

  5. Toriz

    My theory as to why you’re telling the story is simple… Because you need to. It doesn’t need to be any more or less than that. You need to tell your story, so you’re telling it!

    I’m glad you’re going to see it through to the end. If nothing else, when you get it finished you will at least have the knowledge that you completed it. That you told your story and put it out in the world for anyone who wants to read it.

  6. Caroline

    I just want to say that you are a great writer. I stumbled upon your blog (looking for BC or Fraser Valley blogs) and have been captivated by your story. I tried to remember if I heard your story when this all started – but I don’t know if I was hearing the news in those selfish days. Praying that you find yourself in all this, and that you can express your story as you want to. You have a way with words, and I read each entry with some trepidation – there is a raw honesty that draws me in. Blessings.

  7. yogurt

    “I feel like a writer.” And I would say, yes you are. That writing group sounds like the soul-feeding communion we are all searching for.

  8. Loraleigh

    Heidi,
    I want you to know, you can do this. You could always do it, and it’s always been in you to do.
    Much love to you, so happy for you.
    Loraleigh

  9. Fran

    It’s a story that needs to be told because of the lives that will be touched by the telling. I’m excited for the people who will benefit from hearing your story. You are such an inspiration!

    I’m struggling with the need to write about some painful issues regarding adoption and your post really spoke to me. I’m reminding myself that someone somewhere might benefit from the telling, and that I shouldn’t give up. Thank you for your honesty in sharing what you’re going through.

  10. IntenseGuy

    I can’t imagine any way that this book and your writting could “fail.” It has already uplifted, motivated, encouraged, and MOVED a number of people – true, there may be need to edit, hone, refine, sharpen, and describe further some things… I bet even Stephen King never feels like he has ever “truly finished” a book… or Monet ever felt his last painting was ever “completely finished.” …and that is a good thing – it will help you keep at it – to make your words the very best you can make them – you have a talent with words – I’ve seen it here… and you have a story.. a unique, this is my life and how I overcame a dreadful and tragic setback… with love from others but moreso by dint of personal and inner strength…

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