Forever editing.

The feature image is from a day trip to Byron Bay with my husband today. We swam in the still-chilly ocean, drank tea and watched the whales as they headed back to the Antarctic. We all have to take time out, even from things we find stimulating and challenging in a good way. I love writing so much I fear I could burn out if I didn’t have a family to drag me away from the computer, although I always seem to have a notebook with me!

In April, I tackled Camp Nanowrimo, an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month that happens every November. There are authors who credit the time they put into writing in Nanowrimo with kick-starting their writing careers so it’s certainly worth a try. I found it empowering to smash out 40,000 words on a first draft. After writing about Paris and the past for more than a year, it was fun to write a story set in futuristic, dystopian Los Angeles!

After achieving my word count, I put the manuscript away and forgot about it for a few months. In December, once the 50K words are complete (gulp!) for Nanowrimo, I plan to open that file and see what I can do with it. Maybe I’ll pitch it to Netflix! Maybe I’ll pitch it to Margot Robbie. She would be an excellent Mimi. Images_extra_Proofreading_2

For the rest of this month, 10 days to be precise, along with preparing for Nanowrimo, I need to finish the first draft of The Paris Souvenir, the novella I’ve been playing with, and the final edit for Hotel Deja vu before releasing the paperback. I have to put it aside then. I could spend the rest of my life editing Hotel Deja Vu, but one day soon it will just have to be good enough. As Voltaire said, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and in my opinion, anything made is good. It might not be sellable, but that’s beside the point.

Then…BRING ON NANO! Writing the first draft of a story is so much fun but it’s terrifying. That’s where the creativity begins while the second draft is where the craft begins. Make no mistake, if it’s all taken too seriously, the second draft can also be terrifying. Being an artist is equal parts fun and terror because you’re making something! You’re spending the time on something that may or may not ever be fully realised, may never be read or appreciated by another human being.

But still, we are driven to create. Why? The key is in how we view the act of creating not the output or product that results.

and the meaning of life is…

As a fan (follower, devotee?) of renowned creativity coach and psychologist Dr Eric Maisel, I subscribe to his theory that we create meaning in life, that life has no inherent value or point, it’s up to us to make it. What an incredible concept; that we are here on this plane to experience all of life through our senses. To touch, listen, taste, hear and see everything that is available to our senses while we are in human form. Truly spiritual beings having a human experience as Dr Wayne Dyer was fond of saying.

To grow up believing that we are here to struggle through lessons and suffer trials and still never be good enough, this was the most freeing concept I have ever heard. Dr Maisel isn’t referring to hedonism or pleasure seeking, but truly experiencing. He says it is through ‘making’ that we bring meaning to our lives whether that is through creating visual art of some kind, music, growing or cooking food, writing, performance in sport or theatre, caring for others, invention, anything!

There are so many myths around art and artists. The whole idea that artists are special and that genius is crucial for art-making has robbed most of us of the courage or will to even see ourselves as creative. If you’re breathing, you’re creative.

“Why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.” Andy Warhol


  1. Janet Mary Cobb

    I signed up for April Camp but never followed through — focused on AtoZ Challenge instead. I’ve been thinking about NaNo but November is also the busiest time of year for my clients so not sure I’ll get into it this year. I’m focusing on finishing up my business book first. I’ll keep you posted…

    1. Christine Betts

      Are you in the Write. Publish. Sell. Group? They have a bunch of people doing it. But it’s particularly for fiction novels. Is that something you’ve got on that wonderful list? I would suggest to aim for April again and work on more non fiction if fiction isn’t in your plans. Xx

      1. Janet Mary Cobb

        I am in that group but I also have a novel I began in 2012 and have been working on/off for years. Finishing the novel is on my list – but I have 1095 days …maybe trying again in April to focus on that when my business book is finished would be a good idea. Thanks!

  2. lilianaslopez17

    “As Voltaire said, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I am going to borrow this quote. Being a virgo really tends to hinder me, as I expect everything to be perfect the first time around, this post is so freeing and it’s good to read that the first draft does not have to be prize worthy. Thank you for posting this, I really needed to hear it 🙂


  3. Kate Johnston

    I’m prepping for NaNo right now, and I’m getting really excited. I think the high energy is pretty addictive in the NaNo universe, and even if we’re revising or starting anew, the inspiration I feel is magnetic! Love your post so much!

  4. Sherry Lee

    Beautiful post, Christine! I feel alive when I am creating. You have so many tidbits in here that I find myself reflecting on. Thank you for that!

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