Haircuts and the Writing Cycle

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I hate my hair the first week after getting a haircut. It is shorter than I like and it doesn’t style easily. Each hair wants to do its own thing. 

The next two weeks, my hair seems to go into place without a problem. I love my hair during this period.

Weeks four and five are a gradual downhill decline. My hair grows longer and is “top-heavy.” I have to put more and more effort into styling to get it to look halfway decent.

Then, there’s the day of my next haircut appointment. All of a sudden my hair does me proud and I question whether I should keep the date with my stylist.

This morning as I glared at my recently-cut locks in the mirror, I thought about the writing cycle and its similarities to hair growth/cuts.

Even though I am excited when I begin a new book, the process isn’t without its problems. The first chapter is the hardest because it sets the story up and builds the momentum. Characters need to be developed and “gel” with each other. I inevitably spend time taming them all down and helping them find their “place” and “purpose.”

The following chapters are pure fun. As one officer on the television show SVU says, “I love it when a plan comes together.” It is so rewarding when those puzzle pieces fit together and become a beautiful picture of life as I imagine it.

Nearing the end of the book, I get a bit testy. Writing the conclusion, weaving in the lesson learned by the characters and preparing to write a satisfying epilogue are more difficult—and although I enjoy editing someone else’s work—the editing process is slow and laborious when it comes to my own. 

As I wait for comments to come back from my Beta Readers, I reflect on the multiple edits and rewrites I have done myself. I think about how much time and money I could save if I would skip the formal edit and go directly to PUBLISH.

But, just like the times I’m facing the haircut/no-haircut dilemma, I know I will contact my editor and set the appointment. 

After all, I want to like what I see in the mirror.