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Okay. Why Editing Makes Me Crazy.

Well, one of many reasons, but I think this one is close to being the main one.

I'm a private drafter. I go crazy-secretive when I'm first-drafting something, otherwise it does NOT get finished. I know this about myself, about my process. The very act of admitting I'm working on something new, let alone if I give specifics of any sort, makes me less inclined to finish it.

There are about a thousand reasons for this? Up to and including that if I were any good about talking or writing about my work, I'd have a different sort of job than "novelist."

But anyway. Whatever it is in my brain that makes privacy in the first-draft stage not only preferable but necessary, helps me let go of things once other people see them. I can allow the reader their 50%. Because I'm done. I stop engaging with the work.

Re-engaging enough to rewrite something is just... ugh. Rolling the mountain up the hill. If the thing is particularly broken, I can muster the willpower. But I'm terrible with tweaks. Terrible.

It doesn't help that I don't know if I can do anything to make this book better. Worse, quite possibly. But I'm not so sure about better. I'm a little afraid I made it worse in the last draft, as it is. In parts--other parts, yeah, it's better.

Anyway. This has been another episode of Writer Despair. If you have enjoyed this episode, or think you can solve my problem, by all means, share it in the comments.

In the meantime, I'll be buckling down.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Aug. 9th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
*wishing you strength and luck and rewards and good things*
merriehaskell
Aug. 9th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I should report that I awoke with a stern, Swiss-grandmother voice in my head that pointed out that inherent evils in whining and not DOING.

Ah, Swiss grandmothers, they haunt.
sartorias
Aug. 9th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
Sometimes ya gotta vent before you can do.
leahbobet
Aug. 9th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
This has nothing to do with the serious things you have been talking about in this post.

I would just have you know that when I read "private drafter," my brain filled in drafter for money! Draft what you want me to draft!

I gift this thought to you.
merriehaskell
Aug. 9th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
"And any old wordcount will doooo...."

Er, thank you.
dichroic
Aug. 9th, 2010 06:40 am (UTC)
" I were any good about talking or writing about my work, I'd have a different sort of job than "novelist." "

This is kind of fascinating, since you *do* have a different sort of job in addition, and you actually are just fine at writing about that job. I wonder if the difference is due to the sort of sort, or if it's because writing is closer to your heart, or because in your novelist career you use up your writing mojo in the sort of writing that *is* the job, or what.
merriehaskell
Aug. 9th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, I suppose I do have no trouble writing about the other job--in some ways. But there are many pieces about it that I can never set down on paper, either.

But the dayjob does not lend itself to flow or any other weird fugue states.

But I also do not write explicitly about what it's like to clear a queue in ILLiad, or exactly how one hunts down a misbanded book, or... for one thing, those things are technical writing in a way, and BLEAH.

Also, I knew what I meant when I wrote that sentence last night, but I'm not clear on it right now. :) A common thing for me.
asakiyume
Aug. 9th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
I find it hard-to-impossible to talk about stuff I'm working on, too. I don't think it has to do with finishing, though; I think it's just boring old self consciousness.

Can you ever read your stuff as if you were a stranger? As if you weren't you, but just a reader? I find that if I haven't read my own stuff for a while, I can come to it with the "oh! a story!" mentality. And then I can see the jarring lines or the huh? what-does-that-even-mean lines. Some of them anyway.
merriehaskell
Aug. 9th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Reading stuff as a stranger: it seems to take me between five and ten years.

*sigh* :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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