Heading Back, Trying Again

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Tejas

Last week, my husband and I took our young son down to visit his relatives in Texas. We flew into Dallas first, then boarded another plane to fly way down south to McAllen. Air travel is tedious in the first place. Add a small child to the mix and it becomes a high-energy challenge to make sure said child is kept busy enough not to annoy everybody else on the plane. When we began our final descent into McAllen, we were relieved, to say the least. Our uncomfortable slog was almost done. Soon we would collect our bags, check into the hotel, and start the vacation.

We were flying over the landing strip – we could barely see the runway beneath us, through a thick mist of low clouds – when the plane pulled sharply up and began to climb. The captain’s voice crackled over the PA. “They’re telling us not to land, due to weather conditions. We’re going to try to divert to Corpus Christi. Don’t worry, folks, we have plenty of gas.”

Ugh.

We got to Corpus. Same thing again. Bad weather. Couldn’t land. “We’re going to have to head back to Dallas and try again later.”

Malcolm

My son, four years ago, immediately after his very first long plane ride. “That was really stupid, Mommy,” his adorable face seems to say.

NOOOOOOOOOOO.

The plane turned around. My son, who had believed he was about to escape from confinement and get sneaked lots of pieces of early Easter candy by his loving relatives, now had to sit through not one but two more plane rides. He threw himself to the floor in front of his seat and cried “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO DALLAS!” (Since this was exactly how every adult on the plane wanted to react but could not, nobody minded the display.)

The reason I share this story is that, right now, I have to revise a long novel in short order. I’ve already revised this sucker a couple of times, but it still requires some pretty extensive rebooting, and frankly? I don’t want to go to Dallas. I didn’t anticipate that I would have to go all the way back to Dallas. Corpus Christi, sure, a quick diversion – but back from whence I came? NOOOOOOOOOOO. *throws fit on cabin floor* See, to me, the story seemed to be landing beautifully. I could see the runway fine. I didn’t know there was a problem. But as it turns out, there’s some bad weather, so if I really want to reach the destination, then there’s just nothing for it but to circle back and try again.

The worst part is, now that the bad weather has been pointed out to me, I can see it. There it is. Yep. I do have to go back to &*$#ing Dallas. And while I’m sure that, deep down, I do have enough gas to get me there, it doesn’t feel like it right now. My debut is coming out in two weeks (insert ONE MILLION HOORAYS!), which is a huge and exciting big deal that has me completely off kilter. I’ve found it impossible to keep up my usual levels of productivity.

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A Christmas gift from one of my students, since I am always after them to revise. Lately, every day, this thing mocks me from the cupboard.

Luckily, there are other people with me on this flight. Just seeing them there and knowing that they understand exactly how I feel is enough to keep me sane. The lovely and talented Tara Dairman, whose debut novel launched last year, was in Seattle a few weeks ago, so a few of us EMLA folks in the area met up for dinner. Being out with Tara, Laurie Thompson, Jeanne Ryan, and Trish Toney Lawrence was delightful and bracing. At one point in the conversation, I admitted that I’m just not writing the way I usually do, and it’s really scaring me. Tara (who is now working on the third book in her series) replied, “That’s normal. On the Fourteeners board, there was a whole thread about how none of us could write anymore, now that our first books were launching. It’ll pass, you’ll be fine.”

It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I know that she’s right. Just yesterday, I found myself mentally problem solving some of the manuscript’s biggest issues, and I was excited about the possible solutions. So while it might be uncomfortable and tedious, I’ll get there. Sure, I might have to go back and sit in the airport. Eat a soggy, twelve-dollar sandwich. Stay a night at the Ramada and then climb back into the same clothes again tomorrow.

But I’ll get there.

HiRes_Morrison_6814_crop Megan Morrison is a mom, a middle-school teacher, and the author of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL, due out April 28 from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. GROUNDED is the first book in the Tyme series, co-created with Ruth Virkus. Visit her at meganmorrison.net.

 

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10 Comments

Filed under Editing and Revising, Writing

10 responses to “Heading Back, Trying Again

  1. tamaraellissmith

    Oh Megan. Yes. This. I know JUST how you feel. And it makes me breathe a sigh of relief to hear what Tara told you. But it’s funny how you can see and feel the faith for someone else…because I think of you revising right now and I think, “oh she’s definitely got this…LOOK at her debut…look at her blog posts, for goodness sakes.”

    You DO have this. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Tam, thank you for being so kind. I feel like you just reached through the computer and gave me a hug. I can’t wait to read HURRICANE; I know it will get right into my heart. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Radke

      …’finally reached a ‘lesser’ goal of cleaning out my files…’lesser’ only because these particular files have been occupying garage space, and been unthought of, for the last twenty or so years. The task was made bearable by the frequent discovery of little treasures, including an entire notebook filled with ridiculous, hilarious, far-out short stories written by yours truly. (Those stories are always at their most amusing when read aloud by someone else…so I made Mike read them to me. ‘Made my day!) I fondly recalled YOU reading those stories aloud as I wrote them at our dining room table…you laughed yourself silly at the time. This is all leading up to my exclaiming, “….just look at you now! Teacher-wife-mama-author! You girls all grew up so beautifully…..we really shouldn’t have worried in the least!
      Congratulations, Megan!

      Like

  2. What Tam said: “Look at her blog posts for goodness sakes!” You do got this Megan. You’ll figure it out and come out the other side wiser and smarter and tougher. And it’ll be easier the next time around, even if only because you’ll know you can. HUGS! And I can’t wait to celebrate GROUNDED!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can so relate to this post, especially after going through five rounds of revisions with my last book. Every bit of writing I’ve seen and heard of yours tells me you’ll nail this. TWO WEEKS UNTIL YOUR DEBUT–YAAAAAAAY!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Megan. I’m already dreading having to go back to Dallas with my sequel that I’m drafting right now. I try not to think about it because it makes all the drafting feel so much more weighty–maybe I can avoid going back to Dallas if I make the right decisions now? But what are the right decisions??? I have a feeling I won’t know until I work through the draft, similar to how you don’t get on a plane knowing there’s going to be a complication at the end of the flight. I’m trying to shut out those internal voices and just focus on telling a story and having fun with it, and then deal with future travel complications when they come up. I am reading GROUNDED right now and totally loooooooving it–so I know you’ve got this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mariagianferrari

    You definitely have this, Megan! I love the flight analogy, because it’s totally out of our control in a way–we just have to surrender, and know that the delays, turbulence, and rocky descents are all part of this journey! It’s reassuring that we’re not alone on the flight too!

    I love the mug your students gave you–so perfect! You taught them well 🙂

    Like

  6. Thank you so much for this post, Megan. It resonated with me in a big way! Your analogy is perfect. I’m so glad you were able to sit with the EMLA folks and hear the words you needed to hear.
    Love the mug!!!

    Like

  7. What a creative post. After reading some reviews from the trailer for Grounded, I’m confident you will revise and revision will make your next novel stronger! But like your child, we all benefit from a good temper tantrum every once in a while. 😉

    Like

  8. Lindsey Lane

    Love this metaphor!!!

    Like

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