Be like a duck, my mother used to tell me. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.
Don’t I look adorable in these pictures? It’s an act! I’m calm on the outside, but my heart is paddling like….heck on the inside. (You can kind of tell by my flat ears.) First of all, we had just arrived at the VA Home, where I work as a therapy pet, and I couldn’t wait to get in and see all my friends. Secondly, there was a loose thread on my sundress, and it was tickling me and making the strap slide down. Sexy, but annoying. Halfway through our visit, Mom took the dress off me and left me naked. More sexy, less annoying. And worst of all, Mom was making me pose at the brand new flower beds, and she didn’t even care that the sod was wet and muddy! A few Cheerios helped me settle down on the outside, but inside I stayed over-excited.
That’s how Mom feels when she’s revising a story. She reads a line (out loud to herself) and in her head she’s thinking of 20 other ways to say it better. She changes the line, reads it again (it sounds fine to me), but in her head there are 20 MORE ways to say it better. So on the outside, the story is winding along sounding finished, but on the inside, every line is being checked to see if it needs to be cut, fixed, moved, changed, or left alone. That’s why being a writer isn’t as easy as it looks!