It’s been years since I’ve had a summer where I haven’t been on deadline. I turned in Miraculous months ago and assumed I’d have an editorial letter by now. As I’ve waited, I’ve written a picture book, have researched a novel idea, have made some last touches on my October book, and have returned to my novel on my own.
I knew Miraculous still needed work when I turned the manuscript in. (I’m seasoned enough to know the real writing happens once my editor get her hands on a draft.) The thing I wasn’t sure about was how to proceed. But distance and time have been a gift. Now I can see places where the conflict didn’t carry much weight or where characters needed an early-on interaction to help later scenes make sense. I could happily live in Book World forever, going deeper, pushing further, discovering, exploring, enjoying the place and the characters that become more clear each time I visit.
Is it possible I’ll need to make changes once my letter comes? Absolutely. But that doesn’t make this time a waste. I learn something every time I open the document. I see things I couldn’t before. I find inconsistencies. I discover ways to strengthen my prose. I better my craft. I learn what it means to write by simply digging in.
I’m grateful for this deadline-free summer of learning on my own. My letter will arrive when it needs to. For now, I’m discovering the story I mean to tell and the words I need to do it.