It’s been a month or two now since you finished your first draft. The honeymoon is over, time to get back to work. Where did you put that stupid draft? Oh, there it is.
This is the part of writing called making sense of the madness. What the heck have you been writing about? You are going to read your whole book and try and figure out the answer.
Hold on, not so fast. There is a method of doing this. You won’t read your draft like a novel. What you will do is read one chapter at a time. You read chapter one and amend what you can. Rewrite the sentences that need to be rewritten, replace words that make you cringe, add metaphors and paragraphs to strengthen your chapter. After you do this, you log out and go do something else. Go to work or school or the gym. But here is the thing, at the back of your mind, you will be thinking about that chapter all day long.
Take your characters to heart, see them and feel them. What are they wearing? How are they reacting to one another? Take notes of the things and ideas that come to your mind and then the following day, go back and make the necessary amendments. You know what I mean? The way she flicks her hair when she laughs; the clench of his fist when he’s angry; the way her hips sway when she walks.
Try not to do too many chapters at the same time because trust me, spacing out the chapter readings gives you great ideas. And above all, remember that the whole idea of doing a second draft is trying to figure out the book theme. What are you trying to tell the world? Everybody has a story. You have to figure out yours and how your story stands out from the rest.
Another thing you have to remember is what we talked about earlier. Do not force yourself to read or write a chapter. If you come home and are tired or not feeling it, don’t do it. Walk away from the computer.
In ancient times, our ancestors were guided by their innate connection to their spirit. Life was about deep listening and acting accordingly. They called it the teaching of the hollow bone and it goes like this.
If you find an old bone in the woods, it has been cleaned out by insects or animals and appears to be pristine. The insides are absolutely smooth. When you become a hollow bone, you have no ego, no doubts, no pride. Just humility. The spirit can now come straight to you and straight through you. You read a book clearly or type on a laptop without pause.
How do you become a hollow bone?
For me, I go to the woods or a quiet park. I see the children and the dogs running: the couple taking a walk, the girl reading a book under a tree. Some people close their eyes to clear their minds, I don’t. I look at the serene scene around me and it clears my mind, I ground myself and breathe my spirit into my body. I listen with my heart. And then I write. Continued…