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Reminds me of my story

Cool days turn cold. Most leaves have fallen, dried yellow and brown crunching under foot, scraping against the concrete in the breeze. A few vibrant reds and orange still cling to their limbs with gentle grips that loosen on windy days and flutter from above like colorful confetti. Birds fly above in v-shaped flocks. Cold rain drops, early nights, skies with layers of grey and white.

I can see through the woods. What was hidden behind luscious green, now bares its secret. Houses, bodies of water, hidden run-down sheds. What stories do they hold?

This time last year

These very sights started to have more meaning, started turning into scenes. Characters made their voices known to me, then their stories. I wrote it all down. I drafted, I wrote, I edited and rewrote. And I realized I could say I had written a novel of over a 100,000 words … but it just wasn’t good enough to share with anyone.

I had a story, but what I wrote didn’t live up to it. I saw a mountain of fixes and me standing at the bottom of the steep, rugged ridge. I had a vague idea of the direction to go to reach that summit, but not the skills or tools to make the climb. So I stopped.

In the back draw

I did what writers are told to do – and what some of you advised – put the draft away, forget about it. But now that the season has changed, something in the crisp air, something about the way the bare limbs reach for the sky, something reminds me … Scenes are coming back to me, playing in my mind. I hear my character’s voices repeating lines of dialogue. New ways to tell the story are seeping into my conscience. I think it’s time to take that story out from the back of the (virtual) draw, blow off the (pixel) dust and start again.

I’m nervous about how large this task seems – to start again. But I’m excited too. I just need to start by taking one step at a time up that mountain side see if I can get this story any closer to ready.

So how do you begin to tackle a task that feels to big for you? How many drafts does it usually take before you share your story with others?