What follows in my attempt at a light-hearted, not wallowing in self pity post.
I completed a MS a few weeks ago. It rode me hard, wouldn’t let me alone, and pestered me until I finished. It took me around thirty days to write the 65,000 words. Below is a list of things I stopped doing while navigating the brain haze of a new manuscript.
1 – Wearing shoes besides Chuck Taylor’s. (See photo evidence of adorable heels I wore on Wednesday.)
2 – Blow drying my hair. (What? I’m not the only one who puts their hair in a ponytail after a shower and calls it good for two days, right? RIGHT?!?)
3 – Fixing my hair. (See above.)
4 – Talking to my mother. (Who sent me an angry text message containing the word ‘pissed.’ Rough stuff from Mom.)
5 – Going to church. (I went last week and people hugged me profusely like they thought I came back from the dead.)
6 – Taking even my usual fleeting interest in my dayjob. (Which means I am so far behind on my meager monthly offering. I barely made it in January.)
7 – Shaving my legs. (That might be TMI. At least I shaved my armpits.)
8 – Cooking. (Or eating anything remotely healthy.)
9 – Sleeping more than 5 hours a night.
10 – Walking my dogs. (Or playing with my dogs. Or doing more than occasionally rubbing their belly’s while working out a plot point.)
11 - Watching the 20+ hours of TV now waiting on my DVR. (I am not kidding. The only thing I’ve been watching is American Idol, and just because getting behind isn’t an option.)
That said, now I am on to revisions. I usually like to take at least a month before I begin, let the MS sit and marinate, then return to work on edits. This story will not let me do that. The intense pressure has lifted, but instead of disappearing it gave way to a constant throb. It’s not gone. I am about halfway through a rewrite of some plot/character issues. I’ll try and take another 2 weeks off after this one before I start another, more nitpicky revision.
I, like all authors, do several revisions before I put down a story. Notice I didn’t say finish a story, because they aren’t ever really finished. The first pass goes fast, depending on how many holes need to be plugged after the first draft. The second one focuses more on grammar, word choice, and sentence structure. Also, getting rid of those pesky words like ‘that, seem(s)(ed), and anything ending in –ly. Passive voice. Dialogue that doesn’t work. The third (hopefully) cleans up what the first two miss.
What are your editing processes like, writer friends? Longer than mine? Shorter? Just different? What do you forgot to do when you are deep in a first draft?
PS. For more great thoughts on editing/revising, check out Elisabeth Black’s similar post.