Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Thursday

Two more days of work. Two more days. It's a mantra I have to keep chanting to keep me sane through these long, eight-hour work days. Don't get me wrong - I love my day job. But I'd really, really like to start working part-time. Three days a week would be great. Heck, I'd even go four days a week and leave that one day open to work exclusively on my novel or other writing projects.

But alas, that's not in the cards right now. It's a goal I'm working toward, though.

I figured out what was wrong in regards to editing my novel. I want to work on it - but I felt overwhelmed by it. Why? Because instead of breaking it into small chunks, I felt like I had this huge, mammoth project that I had to fix all at once. Not true, of course. I can work on it chapter by chapter - and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Why this took me so long to realize, I'll never know. My last novel was such a mess - and I'd looked at it so much - that I didn't have any type of editing process in place. I just dived in, held my breath, and hoped I wouldn't drown. Unfortunately, that novel is languishing on my hard drive and I doubt it will see the light of day. It's got a lot of potential and I love my characters, but it's not there yet. Maybe someday I'll drag it out again.

Devon said something in the comments yesterday that stayed with me the rest of the day. "If you push the edits too soon "just to send it out", it won't be in good enough shape to make a hit with agents or editors." That's exactly what I've been doing - wanting to get the novel done ASAP so I can send it out. I suppose that's normal, but the novel won't be nearly as good if I focus solely on that goal.

Instead, I should be focusing on making my story the best it can be so that readers will enjoy it, will have a book that they can't put down, will have a story that will stay in their brains long after they've read it. That should be my goal - and I lost track of it.

Sometimes, I need a swift kick. And I think I just got it.

I constantly have to remind myself why I'm writing. It's not for the money (but that would be nice) or the glory or fame (which I really don't want) - but to tell a story, simple as that. We can get so caught up in the whole publishing game that we forget. I know that I need a gentle reminder every so often to get me back on track again.

What about you? Do you feel like you lose track of why you started writing in the first place?

8 comments:

  1. YES! I definitely lose track. I'll get caught up in the "gotta sub it, gotta sub it" mentality. When I really should just relax and write the story. Right now I feel like I should be working on something to submit. And that's not the right attitude. I should be focusing on writing something cos I must tell a story. Sigh...

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  2. Oddly enough, I have, but Nano really brought it home to me. I guess because I didn't have room in my head to think about anything else. I really didn't think Nano would increase my love of writing but it did. I don't like to edit but I've already done the first three chapters and I ended up doing some yesterday out of necessity (I finished the book but needed more words).

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  3. I ditto the "pushing the edits" comment. One of the things I made myself do, even though it is painful, is to take my time and edit.

    I am so hungry to mail out my second novel, but alas, it will be 3 more months before that happens.

    Hang in there.

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  4. Not during the first revision, but later, I find it important to read the WIP more like I would read someone else's novel (in bigger chunks). If I don't force myself to do that, I focus on it page by page, and I think I lose the overall flow of the story. When that happens, it doesn't work as a unit, as a whole. Instead, it's like pieced-together short stories.

    I agree that taking the time to get some distance from the story helps us to see it more like a first time reader.

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  5. With my first novel, I didn't really write or edit with an eye to subbing, so when I started getting requests for the full ms from contests, the pressure was suddenly on -- and I finally finished the edits. I think I need that pressure or I'll tinker until the end of time. No one has requested a full of my second novel yet, so it's just languishing, mostly done, on my hard drive...

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  6. Why do I write? Well, I write because that's what I do. I go crazy after more than a couple of days off.

    But that's not the whole story. My motivation for writing is different than my motivation for submitting/pitching/proposing. I submit in hopes of making a sale.

    If I were just in it for the thrill of writing (and that is part of the reason), I would keep all my stories boxed up under my bed. But there's more to it. I'd like to share my stories and characters with people who might like them. And I love the idea of being able to make my very own living by doing what I love.

    But, I do agree with what you're getting at. The love of the story has to come first, or none of the rest of it will come at all. ;-)

    As usual, you've given me lots to think about.

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  7. What are friends for, but to give each other a swift kick when necessary? ;)

    I write because that's how I make sense of the world, and I try to communicate that to others.

    Yes, it's important to understand the business end, but if you don't have something in excellent shape to submit, it'll never get past the slush pile.

    You're doing great!

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  8. All the time, but then I just remind myself that I've been writing for as long as I can remember, that for me it's the story, and my need to tell it, that's really important.

    I think breaking your edits into chapters is a great idea :-)

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