I’ve spent this week on the second draft of a book that should come out in 2018. I’m ready to send it off as soon as I finish this post. I didn’t mean to take this long but got tangled up in the first line of the third stanza of one poem. It’s a simple line that includes the word “sticks” in it. My concern was that sticks also appears in another poem in the group and I worried that the repetition might be a problem.
After fretting over it for two days, no solution came. It’s the right word in both instances. I rewrote the line, and the whole stanza, in various ways but found no fix that I thought was better. In the days before I began being published I whizzed past such situations with a shrug and hope that an editor wouldn’t notice. At some point I learned that editors do pay attention and if I see it they’re going to spot it too.
I think I can defend my decision to reinsert the original line in this case. We’ll see. I remember a time when an editor told me to stop revising and let her get on with the book. Sometimes it’s just hard to let something go. Someone help me remember who said, “Writing is never finished. It’s abandoned.” Or something close to that.