Photo by Eric Smith
In a predictable new year's out with the old, in with the new move, I got my hair drastically cut this week. (Makes a note to see about updating sidebar photo since I can no longer even make pigtails, let alone sport ones that trail most of the way down my back.) At any rate, I am not sure this desire for short hair had all that much to do with the need for a fresh start that so often accompanies a new year, but more to do with practicality. My hair was past the middle of my back again and it had been over a year since I had gotten it cut. I wasn't spending the time required on it to display it in its fully curly girl glory, so more often than not, it was twisted up on the back of my head waiting for me to have about five hours when I didn't plan to leave the house or sleep so I could wash it and let it air dry. (I don't like blow dryers.) Anyway, as I was sitting in the chair describing to my awesome stylist (Cally at Curls & Co. if you are in the Chicago area and need a good stylist) how short I wanted to go, she pinned a chunk of hair on my head and then just chopped off a mass of curls. There was a momentary panic -- nothing too major, I've gone short before and my hair grows fast, but still watching that hunk of hair, now useless to me drift down to the waste bin, there was a twinge of sorrow, followed by a realization there was no turning back now, and finally, a relief.
I realized that I often treat my writing like I treat my hair. In the same way I get my hair cut about once a year, I am often reluctant to really, truly set down and chop down my stories. I'll write something new and let it marinate for awhile, telling myself I will revise it thoroughly after the thought of taking sharp objects to it doesn't panic me so much. Too often it marinates far longer than it needs to. I am too busy writing new stories. And when I do revise, it is rare than I end up with a shorter word count than I started with. Chopping extraneous material from my stories is very difficult for me. I'm getting better at this, but still I recognize it is an area of weakness.
Which brings me to my novel. . . remember how I was happy dancing back in August because I'd finished my first draft. . . FINALLY!! Well, guess how much revision has been done on that manuscript. Go ahead. . . guess. . .
Did you say, none?
Well, if you did, you'd be right. Now, I can already hear that voice of justification sounding off in the back of my mind. Yes, I am fully aware that there were some very good reasons for me to take some time away from the novel almost immediately after I finished it. But that's been exactly 5 months now. Excuse time is over.
The thing is, once my hair was done, I was completely infatuated with it. Cally did an amazing job and I felt so much lighter and free without my long hair. It's still got that wild curl going on that I love, it's just shorter. I need to take this light, free feeling and apply it to my writing now. . . most especially my novel. It's time to start chopping!
So how about you? Did the new year prompt you to make any changes you apply to your writing?
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