No, it’s not my age. Not my wedding anniversary, or the number of parking tickets accumulated, or the total colonoscopy preps I’ve endured.

It’s…the number of nominations Susan Lucci received before winning the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. AND the number of years I’ve been writing Kaitlyn’s story.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if Lucci’s lucky number 19 became mine as well? An agent, a book deal, and the final lap to a real publication date.

Can you hear me chanting with Natalie Wood’s character in Miracle on 34th Street?

I believe, I believe. It’s silly but I believe.

If you watched the clip, you know Natalie doesn’t believe at all. She only chants because she’s a good girl and does whatever Mommy tells her. Of course, if you’ve seen the movie you also know her faith in miracles is restored. All’s well that ends well in 1940s Hollywood, and…

I sure wish it would happen to me.

More than ever before I believe Kaitlyn’s story will meet with a miracle. Because why not? I’ve been a very patient and persistent good girl for nineteen years. That’s got to count for something. Yeah, I believe. But today, not so much.

Rumor hath it, when a writer gets to the point where they’re dithering over the best place to put the damn comma, they can trust the manuscript is ready. Good to know. Unfortunately, that’s not my issue— yet.

My new objective eye is flogging me. Awareness is a dangerous thing. Once you see a problem, you always see the problem. Every day I think, Surely yesterday’s breakthrough on what isn’t relevant will put the wind beneath my fingers and I’ll trim this sucker down lickety-split. But no matter how fervent my desire, my cutting pace is on par with a turtle crossing the road.

I would like to be miserable about this. Did I just say that? Yes, the neurotic depressive side of my personality loves to be miserable. But not as much as it used to thanks to my courage in tackling this revision. Digging deep into Kaitlyn’s journey has taught me how to reframe better and faster than through any form of therapy. The bonus— the slowness with which this change occurred means this reframing habit is a keeper.

And so, I refuse to berate myself for turtling along because my brain is doing more than lowering a word count; it’s rewiring my understanding of writing. The result— deleting passages is no longer a random act. Whatever is snipped away is snipped with a clear intent to strengthen the story’s purpose. After what feels like an eternity, a new path of storytelling has opened to me. The terrain filled with secret treasures I never imagined would be mine. Yet, here they are energizing my toolbox and giving me goosebumps.

That’s the magic of writing with a maddening lack of urgency. So, three cheers for nineteen years— slow and steady wins just ask Susan Lucci.