Edited to Add

I hit a wall and it didn’t even hurt. Not a real wall. An imaginary one. Of the two, the imaginary wall is infinitely better because hitting a real wall would probably have resulted in either really bad bruises or Wes cutting up my driver’s license.

This wall is stealthy, insidious, and crept up on me when my back was turned. I had just finished my novel (you may recall that I mentioned this fact once or twice) and, before I knew it, I totally ran out of steam on the whole project.

Intellectually, I realize that I need to go back and edit the whole thing. I understand the reasons for this, sympathize with those reasons, and think it’s a darn good idea. There’s just one issue: I don’t want to.

This is troublesome, because the file containing my novel is just sitting on my desktop, forlorn and sad. It will never go anywhere, do anything, or be more than just a Word document unless I edit and refine it, but I’m having a dickens of a time working up the motivation to do it.

This may explain why I like being a blogger so much. All I do is write, I rarely edit. I’ve never been a huge fan of editing, come to think of it. Whenever I wrote papers for school, I always turned in my first draft. Sure, there would be tiny little errors here and there, but the one or two points deducted from my score were never enough to motivate me to re-read my papers before turning them in.

I suspect the problem may lie in how dis-satisfied I get with my writing when I re-read it. I kicked myself out of entropy this morning and made it through a few pages of my novel and re-wrote a lot of it in light of how the story resolves at the end. I tweaked, re-phrased, and ended up deleting whole paragraphs and re-writing them. I think I added an entire page to my manuscript today.

A lot of inconsistencies popped out to yell at me, and I had to fix them. It felt a lot like wading through glue wearing fuzzy waders: a lot of work with very little progress. Adding to that is the allure of starting a new story and I’m all the more unwilling to edit my finished one.

I wonder if using an outline would have saved me this drama. You see, I wrote the story by the seat of my pants and just let the story unfold in whatever direction it felt like taking. The ending is great, but the beginning of the story doesn’t really match where it ends up, so I have to continually fix the beginning in order to make it correspond with the rest of the tale.

The thing that’s bugging me is that I normally don’t have an issue with motivation. All I need is one whiff of new challenge and I’m usually four sheets to the wind, but at this moment of time I feel stymied. After cramming so much activity into November (what with the working and the NaNoWriMo) December seems to have slid into a vague void left in the wake of too much activity. November flew by, but December is limping by like it’s missing knee-caps.

Luckily, this is not the first time this unique kind of floundering has happened to me. I’m characteristically very bad at relaxing and having free time on my hands, but I can learn to enjoy it. The simple solution to this is I just need to get back into the habit. By some fortuitious stroke of luck, I happen to have a stack of books to read and a whole mess of holiday time off ahead of me. I forsee a lot of cocoa, reading, and baking in the near future, with perhaps some editing thrown in for good measure.

2 thoughts on “Edited to Add

  1. Author Erika and Editor Erika are two different people and they don’t get along. In order to let Editor Erika out, you have to focus on the differences. One trick is to print out your manuscript and go through it and make notes. Then when you go back to make the changes, the writer can come back out.

    Also, edit while drunk.

  2. -Dane, The last line is so Irish…I’ve rarely heard someone of Irish descent give advice that didn’t involve alcohol in some capacity ;)

    I like the idea of printing out my manuscript, I appreciate the compartmentalization aspect of the endeavor. Thanks for the tip!

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