I know this isn’t the normal experience, but I just finished participating in the Write Practice’s Spring Contest, and it was great fun! I say that it wasn’t the normal experience because it began with critique groups to workshop our stories. We had about a two week period to post, critique, revise, repost, critique some more, revise some more, and repeat. It was a more focused work environment than I’d participated in lately, and I loved the confidence build of writing something new and seeing it shape into a quality story in that short of a time. I find it easy to get stuck in revising the work that I already have, so I liked the reminder to keep writing new stories too. In the end, I probably overworked the story, but when I come back to it in a few weeks to revise it again, it will be a good place to build from. It will be published on Short Fiction Break, so I’ll post a link on this site when that happens. Update: Here is the link!
So, now to just keep writing something new, and somehow find time to revise it all as well. So much to do!
Erase this? Are you crazy! my mind rebels, whenever I sit down to rewrite a scene. I’ve rewritten scenes any number of times now, but every time that I start to do it again, I have a moment of panic. Maybe it’s not perfect, but what if I don’t come up with something better! my mind traitorously speaks. Then, after I hit the delete button, my mind continues to berate me/itself, gloating, Well now you’ve done it, and I’m just not going to come up with any ideas 😡! But what I’ve learned by now, is that whatever part of my mind rebels stains the work of rewriting is really a part that is easily beaten, and soon, it moves from this 😡, to this 😞, to this 🤔. And then, the ideas start to flow, while I’m just along for the ride, until finally, we together get to this 😎, in hopes of this 🤑 : )
Revision is one thing, but rewriting entire sections is a daunting task! I have recently been working through some sections that I am re-imagining and beginning each one feels like jumping off a cliff. Changing small details or even adding large sections to previously written chapters has not been very difficult, perhaps because it gives some structure to work within, but it is painful to delete whole sections that I liked. Walking through the writing process to redo those parts isn’t easy either. Each time, I stare at the top of the chapter dreading what is to come. And each time, I have to force myself to jump in with both feet, cutting what needs cutting, no matter what. Tapping my imagination again, trying to come up with something better than before.
Waiting is hard. I find it easy to get impatient and to want to move on to the next step. It’s hard not to when I’m so excited for what the next step might be and have so much hope. But between now and the next step is at least several weeks and possibly several months of work. Work that needs to be done but also work that stands in the way of what I want to do. I know that the work is needed though. The revisions that I’m working on are things that I know will make the book better, more forceful, more moving, and just better written in the end. I know they need doing and knowing that makes the waiting a little easier. Though I still would love to pull out a magic wand and make it all happen right away.