In Christi Krug’s Wildfire Writing process there is an important step called The Way Station. In her book, Burn Wild, she describes the Way Station as a “stopover, a breather, and a place to lose attachments to your work.” Over the past 5 years while writing Through the Ganesh Gate I have parked at the Way Station many times, and with good purpose.
In the beginning of the writing process I was shy, embarrassed even to put words on the page. I kept telling myself that no one would want to read the story, it was not important, and that I had no expertise that gave me the right to write. Many times I put a chapter away for weeks, and whole sections were shelved for months at time. But instead of getting frustrated, I accepted that I had returned to the Way Station. Each time I started writing again, the story felt exciting and a little less scary.
After I completed the full draft, it was terrifying to send it out to my early readers. Even with 300 pages and a start, middle, and end, the novel felt unfinished, raw, and untidy. But I sent it anyway and parked again at the Way Station. The magic of giving it away allowed me to separate myself from the story that I had written. I even started writing my second novel just to get the first out of my mind. That separation was vital to gain perspective, hear critical feedback, and ultimately, rewrite both the beginning and the end (yet another time).
My last stop at the Way Station occurred when the story was turned over to my editor Bjorn. I wanted so desperately for the book to be finished, but I parked at the Way Station and allowed the process to move at its own pace. So, for the past year, Bjorn and I have played a slow game of Ping-Pong. Each draft got better, more concise, and the story came into balance. By embracing the concept of losing attachment to my work, the novel found its own final form.
I will never be a current or proficient blogger (as you can clearly see), nor am I likely to master many new skills in this lifetime, but I can finally say, with reasonable comfort, that I am an author. I will forever be grateful for both the writing process and the amazing people who helped me along the way. I hope that there are many more stories to come.
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