Out With the Old: making space for peace

Every once in awhile, I find myself in the right mindset to purge all excess from my life. This usually takes the form of spring cleaning (no matter the season) the rooms of my house. I turn into this brainless machine and heartlessly throw out all that seems to be in the way. I read a book last fall about being uncluttered with children, and I immediately took my kids’ rooms by storm. And also the kitchen cabinets. And my closet. And the TOYS.

The usual results of this type of purging grant me more breathing room, a better appreciation for what I’ve held onto, and a more peaceful living environment.

I’ve been in this mindset this week, but my efforts have steered toward Dreams the Insanity, my novel I’ve been querying. I recently received some positive feedback on it from an agent, and one of her suggestions was cutting the word count substantially. I immediately thought of areas of my book where I gave unnecessary information and description. It’s difficult sometimes to write historical fiction that has so many fun details from the time period without sounding like a textbook. I quickly found areas where it sounded like my characters were reading from a history book and reworked them. I also eliminated entire portions of chapters that didn’t keep the plot going.

Like purging the house, some areas of my book were easy to throw out. Other parts I have a deeper connection to, and I must make the hard choice of either saving or cutting. I really have only just begun to revise my manuscript and have removed nearly 6000 words so far. I keep reminding myself, however, that — like the stuff I’ve thrown out of my house — I will probably not miss those 6000 words.

I am creating for myself more space for my book to breathe, more appreciation for the words that are left, and a more peaceful reading experience, one that’s not weighed down by unnecessary words.

The process takes time and courage, but the results are worth it. May you find the courage to rid yourself of that which makes for a cluttered life and better appreciate what you’ve allowed to stay. May your 2015 be one of peace.



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