writing and editing, a motto

write fast, edit slow

In editing draft three, this has become my motto. Writing is a fast and heady business; I can get sucked into a chapter and lose track of time. Not so with editing. Editing is slow and tedious at times, but there is something to be said for seeing your work with fresh eyes and taking the time to polish a scene. I’m coming to realize that this is just the way I work best. I need to take my time to edit. It’s not perfectionism (I won’t quibble over minute details); it’s a sense of comfort and growing familiarity with my characters and their motivations that makes me want to take the time to focus on a scene rather than rush through it just to get it over with. The draft is coming along. It will take time, but I’m enjoying this round more than the last one and think the story will be better for it. The read-through and note-taking certainly helped, and I’ve developed a pattern and a schedule that works well for the moment. I’m looking forward to having something to show to readers and knowing I did my best to make it worth their time.

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a well-documented journey

Two years ago, I started relying on a desk calendar to track the number of days I work on my writing. I note down when I start and end a chapter,  or whether I’m writing, editing, or transcribing material. It helps me stay accountable and reveals patterns and interesting little life bits that are of no interest to anyone but me. It’s especially useful on days when I’m feeling particularly doubtful about my progress. I’m now three chapters away from finishing my read-through/note-taking/manual rewrite of Anúna draft two. Though it feels like I’ve been working on this draft for ages, the calendar reveals that I only started working on it in mid-August, having taken a month off after completing the second draft in July. That’s a lot less than I expected, though there were several gaps in my writing. For one, I was still adjusting to a new semester at a new library, so there were days when I had little energy left to write. Then there was my grandfather’s passing in September; it was difficult to get back into the story after something like that. Still, it’s not so terrible as I thought and shows that I’ve been much more productive than I give myself credit for at times. As with most writers, it’s incredibly easy for me to not see the forest for the trees. I get so caught up in the little things–like whether or not I took a week off writing and why it was such a terrible thing–that I forget to see how much I’ve really accomplished.