Happy Easter Monday, dearest readers! Quick announcement pertaining to following: it has come to my attention that for some reason GFC wasn't allowing people to follow the blog...the issue should be fixed. I hate technology.
But, onto more pleasant things! Actually, not really, because today's topic is quite a painful one, for me, at least. However, writing is a whole mix of things, pleasant and not-so, jumbled together in a pot, that produce an addictive product. I am unable to stop, even if I don't like some aspect of it.
Before I finished a complete draft, I looked forward to editing like a kid (okay, let's face it, like I) look forward to Christmas. Probably because I was anticipating refining my novel in order to ultimately finish it.
However, it was not so simple.
After about a week of editing, I had become so disgusted with my manuscript that I set it aside entirely for a month or so. I wasn't getting the automatic rush of seeing my writing fall into place that I got while drafting. I felt like there was so much to fix and that nearly all of it was unfixable. It was just so messy! I couldn't keep track of it all and it made my head hurt and brought tears to my eyes. Why was I finally being beat by the simple stage of editing?!
More days passed with the manuscript shoved to the back of my mind. But it was always there, like a test I would eventually need to study for or a worksheet I'd eventually have to complete. Something I was running from, something nasty.
Finally, I came to realize that this mentality was not healthy for my writing, or for me. I was intimidated by the whole of my story and all the changes that had to be made. But I was not taking into account the brilliance of the story itself, the characters I'd fallen in love with, the reasons I'd started writing it in the first place.
Drafting is an instant gratification experience for me. I love to see the pages and the chapters pile up, to see the blood sweat and tears poured into it, and the story develop. I don't get that when I have to delete things and re-write. I am likely to get overwhelmed by everything produced by the drafting stage and scream at my MS "I FINISHED YOU, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH!?" Unfortunately, I doubt that agents and publishers would react positively if I shouted such words.
Eventually, I was able to focus on what's in front of me. I made a list of what was wrong, and focused on one thing at a time. Like life, not everything is going to happen at once. And like my story, my edits need pacing. I needed to pace myself in what I was fixing, so I didn't burn out. Also, I needed to stop expecting the unexectable from myself. It's not logical or healthy for me to believe I can fix everything in a day. Lastly, I needed to remember the reasons why I started writing this particular story in the first place. I needed to let the love of my story, my characters, and ultimately writing fuel me.
To sum it all up, when you're cleaning a kitchen, you focus on one aspect at a time. Perhaps first putting food away, then wiping down the table and all the counter tops, moving onto sweeping, next washing the dishes, then drying, and finishing off by putting it all away. Try having this mentality when refining your masterpiece. And don't forget why you're doing it. Because you love the look of a clean kitchen! Those sparkling counter tops and appliances...oh wait, I mean, because you love your story! Those incredible, real characters that the rest of the world needs to know.
How do you edit your manuscript?