I’ve been thinking about writing lately (the act, not the manuscript) and reading a lot of posts with lots of opinions. I too have opinions, but I also know that for every writer who gets up two hours early to shell out 3000 words before breakfast, there is a writer like me: slow, who has to balance a day job and a drive, the split-mind persona of scholar and creator, and the drain of being an introvert in an extroverted world.
Here are some truths I’ve learned about (my) writing:
- I can write fast, but I must edit slow.
- Rushing the process only leads to more revision and poor development. I am coming to terms with this, but it is hard. It requires a lot of humility and learning to set aside lofty goals and expectations. The process takes long but it is a process.
- I can let go of writer jealousy.
- I do not need to follow in another writer’s footsteps. I can make my own path, take my own journey. I can only write as I know how to write.
- The story is mine.
- Writing is personal. I am willing and open to critique. I seek improvement and welcome feedback. But, ultimately, it’s my book and it’s my voice.
- Every book is different.
- The process changes every time. I am currently a weekend warrior. It’s a slow draft and a slow process, but it’s the best process that I’ve found for this particular draft. The next one will be its own beast.
- I need to take care of my physical and mental health.
- I don’t believe in sacrificing my body for my art. I need sleep. I need exercise. I need food. And I need to work to pay the bills. These things have to come first or my writing will and does suffer.
There are many more truths. Every writer has their own. These are mine.
It’s been a rough year, which really shows in my writing. I had a hard time focusing—-life, work, health, it all came together to result in a convoluted mess of a draft full of gaping holes. I was brutal in my cuts during the last revision, and what I thought was the right choice, led to a weak plot that really lacks punch. But I couldn’t see it until now. The readthrough was painful, but I received some solid feedback from two of my betas (thank you for being my victims) and had a major breakthrough. I’m in for a hell of a lot of rewriting (and new writing) but I know where things went wrong and I know how to fix it (fingers crossed), which is a very good thing.
Here’s to another round as a NaNo rebel. No real word goals, just a purpose: rewrite, revise, redraft.
It’s a cold, wet, gloomy Sunday (cue Billie Holiday). Winter seems to have arrived (or what passes as winter in Miami), which means I want nothing more than to cuddle up with a book and a fresh cup of tea. No such luck.
This morning, in that lovely space between sleep and waking, I realized something that seemed so obvious, I’m a little ashamed I didn’t notice before. In the middle of what I thought were the easy chapters (quick revisions rather than full-on rewrites), I now see a glaring issue in the order of events that will require a complete overhaul of nearly 4 chapters. Luckily, they’re chapters I was planning to work on during February, but this will mean some serious attention to detail, and a much longer process than I thought. Nevertheless, what’s the point of revision if not to catch things like this? After all, no one is waiting on these revisions but me. I’m only accountable to myself, and I’m won’t skimp on editing for the sake of meeting a self-imposed deadline. Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet it after all.
January by the numbers:
- Chapters revised: 4
- Wordcount (new and rewritten): 12,492 (I started tracking. It keeps me grounded.)
- 1 chapter in progress, 3 to be reviewed and outlined
Met my first draft milestone! Only one week behind (but not bad, especially since I flaked out during the first week in February and did NOTHING). Just completed Ch. 8, which was my February goal for the first third of the draft rewrite. Chapters 9 through 11 are going to be a doozy, but here’s hoping that I meet my next small assignment goal by the end of March (rework 9 through 11 and get through 15, if all goes well). My large goal is to have a complete draft by the end of April, though I gave myself some room to revisit chapters and revise details. My self-imposed deadline is June 20th (my birthday, when I will take a well-deserved break from life in general).
I’ll fess up… I don’t think I’m going to be meeting my NaNoWriMo Rebel goal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just find that in rewriting, I’m also re-imagining a lot of significant plot points and events that need more work than I foresaw when I started this journey. There are so many factors that are different this time around–last year, I was living at home and could get away with letting someone else do the cooking and chores, now it’s all on me. I also don’t have the extra time at work to focus on editing during my lunch; whereas, last year, I was getting an extra hour of writing a day by writing during my lunch hour. I also just don’t rewrite as fast as I write. My rewriting process is much slower than my writing… there’s more note taking and planning involved; it’s necessary, but it slows me down. Again, I’m finding that I’m okay with this. I’m not in this to “win;” more and more, I’m in this to produce something worth one day sharing with an agent. It’s early still, but I doubt I’ll get more than two more rewritten chapters before the end of the month. I’ll happen… it just might have to continue into December.
I am enjoying the process though 🙂 I’m seeing the story from a whole new angle and making it so much better (I think). Motivations and details are finally starting to come together. I’m kind of excited and eager to be able to read the whole thing through and fine-tune it.