I had hit a wall with writing Santa Fe Blues before my daughter went into the hospital in May. I was still writing, but it was a slow process — much slower than Paint It Red had gone. I was frustrated, but determined to finish the draft before I made any judgments about its quality.
The hospital stay put a pause on the project, of course. But I fully planned to get back to it once our family situation had gotten back to normal.
I didn’t realize at the time that the old normal would never return.
Our “new normal” is a two-year-old who has an extremely rare genetic metabolic disorder plus an implanted medical device … and we’re still figuring out what that means and how to navigate it. To say that I haven’t had the time or energy to write would be an understatement. Lately I feel like I haven’t been able to breathe.
In the last week, though, things have felt a little more stable. A little more manageable. A little more … normal. For the first time since May 6, I’ve had the capacity to think about Santa Fe Blues. Maybe it was the time away from it. Maybe it was God tapping me on the shoulder. Maybe it was the fresh perspective that a family catastrophe brings … but I suddenly realized exactly what needed to happen with that book.
I’m throwing it out.
Yes, 40,000 words and months of work are about to hit the virtual trashcan.
I’m starting from scratch!
The story is there. The characters are there. I know who the villain is, what makes them commit the murder, and the timeline events need to happen in. But it’s written entirely from the wrong point of view.
So I’m starting the book over again — and I know in my gut it’s going to solve every single problem I know the current draft has.
I’ve heard stories of authors throwing out entire manuscripts, and I always thought, I could never do that. Actually, truthfully, I thought, I would figure out the book wasn’t working long before I got to that point! Ah, the hubris.
I suppose I should feel fear around this. But I don’t. I feel exhilarated. I think this is going to crack me open and make this book so much better.
There’s a power in starting over.