33 Comments

Fantastic post as always, Kate. I am lucky enough to make a living as a full-time writer, largely because I am a writer-for-hire who does a LOT of ghostwriting, and because I'm okay with driving used cars and making other sacrifices--all to support my passion for writing novels that don't always get sold. So I know all about untangling necklaces (great metaphor). The thing to remember is that you have to write enough first to CREATE tangled necklaces before you can have that sublime pleasure of following the chains, threads, or whatever to turn them into something you and other people can wear with pride.

Whew. That was probably a metaphor that went on a LOT longer than it should have! Sorry!

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Beautifully written and insightful and helpful, too.

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Well this is just exactly what all of us writers need to hear. Thank you for validating this messy, tangly process. And yes yes yes, we have to keep doing it anyway. If for no other reason, because we're writers and that's what we do.

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Oh no! I was clinging to you for an insider tip. NOW what do I do? On the other hand, I actually like to untangle things. Patience, tools, and enjoying every freed link makes it satisfying.

Hey! Did I solve my own problem just now?

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I love the metaphor! I get SO frustrated when untangling necklaces and have to remind myself just to keep going because no one untangles a necklace by throwing it against a wall and storming off 😉

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My grandparents used to own a small vintage jewelry store in Saratoga Springs and I spent a lot of time untangling necklaces, and let me tell you, no two tangles ARE the same, so that's a great metaphor. :) All the same, one does, over time, get more adapt at dealing with the tangles. So I take that to be a glimmer of hope, that even if it's always different, you do gain skills (as weird and niche as they may be) as you go--so long as you keep going.

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Hi Kate. Your post could not have landed in my inbox at a better time. I am currently wading through the developmental edits my publisher sent me and yes I signed a contract to say I would turn them around in 30 days - yikes!! But I know she won’t hold me to that. Your analogy of unraveling a necklace and then re-threading the beads was great. I have a couple of sub plots that I’m not sure are working and think I will cut them out to make the novel tighter but it’s not that easy and everything has a knock on effect as I’m sure you know only too well. I am working 12 hour days - 8 regularly paid and 4 writing. I feel good about it and am sure it will all work out. But if it doesn’t (but it will!) at least I will have given it my absolute all. Thanks for being here - it’s good to have an ally!

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Oh goodness this is so applicable to my life right now. This year I've had more success than I imagined and yet my savings is running out and so here I am working on getting a license so I can substitute teach (which is actually a pretty great flexible gig where I live). But it's good to be reminded that I should keep going with the writing work too.

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Love this. Every bit.

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This is very helpful. Thank you. At least being retired military I have the healthcare thing sorted out until they get some sort of national system in place, if ever.

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Right on time, Kate. Thank you.

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Hey, I quit my job to write full time and I'm on government sponsored healthcare. So you can have your ice cream and eat it too! That's how the saying goes right?

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"There is no linear path to success. Anyone can get there a million different ways. You don’t learn the one path to get there. You learn how to untangle the necklace, your necklace. And then you do it again." My goodness, THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. I get handed everyone's necklaces to fix, in this house, many of them have I conquered. My own metaphorical ones, though? I have no one to hand them to, though I wish I could.

This was an imperative post for me to read this morning, and now I'm going to quit stalling and go do some untangling. Of my own hopefully and not the kids'. Thank you!

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I love this message!! It's like you were talking to me, right here in my office..

I'm in the editorial stage of my first novel. My fantastic editor returned my story, all nice and edited, back to me a few weeks ago. And then it was Thanksgiving, Black Friday and now I'm shopping for Christmas, and the snow is about to fall outside as winter seductively rolls over the PNW.

But back to my book and untangling the daunting necklace, completing the edits and fleshing out the parts that need tightening. All so I can one day showcase my story to the world. It's all so terrifying but also very exciting! Thanks for giving me a nudge! :) xx

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Well, there's a lovely post to read on a day when one is considering chucking the whole thing in. Your "tell it like it is" (or as it is with your experiences) could just be the straw that broke the camel's back. Or perhaps, this particular camel, who probably didn't have a strong enough back in the first place.

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