Writer friends, you know the time… Revision time.
I’m working on the Bay Town books right now. Revision is such a tame word for the work that needs done on them. Or the time it will take. Silly ole day job goes and gets in the way right now too.
I’m talking major overhaul here and frankly… I’m intimidated by the whole thing.
So I’m here, mouse in hand, begging for some sage advice. Writers! Ahoy there! When you are afloat on the sea of revision in the eye of the hurricane that is writing a book, with the far wall approaching, WHAT tools do you use in the revision process?
Do you play with POV, do you write out the chronology? Do you map characters? Do you do all this heavy remodeling on screen or do you print out?
I’m new to Scrivner having used WriteItNow in the past. I keep hearing that Scrivner has more functions. Unfortunately (maybe) for Baytown 1: Into Each Life, it will have to live on WriteItNow since Scrivner won’t import their files. Or maybe this program I’m using will be just fine!
If I’m over-thinking this, let me know. I tend to believe perhaps I am. Since I have a blog post written yet nothing revised on Into Each Life. (Good indication of major brain freeze and procrastination)
Which brings me to another point. What about procrastination? In my heart of hearts my deepest desire is to write. But it’s exhaustive and daunting at times and it’s difficult to clock in that seat time. I feel like in order to produce work I’m practically morphing into another world when I put my brain to my characters and story. When I’m done for session, or interrupted, which is more common, I feel as if I’ve just returned from a demanding dream, nearly a nightmare, a fugue state, if you will.
My only strategy against looking at my work as Sisyphus looked at the rock is simply immersion therapy. I have to do the work and do it consistently!!… again… for those who just scanned to here… CONSISTENTLY!! Do It Daily. That means every day. For at least a set time. 30 minutes, an hour? Carve it out. If it takes me 15 minutes to morph into the story, then I carve out 45 or an hour and 15 to write. If I’ve got story hangover for 10 after I’m done, I tack that on.
What I’ve found when I do this… and No, I don’t always do this (more on this later)… is that it doesn’t take me as long to morph. It doesn’t leave me as exhausted and I perk-o-late better. My story sticks with me and my waking brain can play with it even while I go about other duties. (But not at work, don’t worry Boss, I’m always focused on work there! *cough cough)
Sometimes though, sometimes… it takes the fugue to break through from an ok piece to something greater. It takes that soul immersion.
Writers! Do you find this? Do you schedule? What else works? Carry a notebook? Give Siri notes? Let’s hear from you!
While I solicit advice, I also know that when it comes to writing, whatever helps make your work better is what you do. What ever tactic, or method. What ever time or type. Print the whole bad boy out or work on a dual screen or on your laptop. With a crowd of people or workshopped with your writer’s group, or alone with Game of Thrones soundtrack in the background. (which is me, today, and actually counter productive to Baytown which is not very Thron-ie at all.)
These revision have sat here, ruminating, for months. I’ve meant to get to them. I really have. It’s a course called the Art of Revision in my curriculum at University of Iowa that, to continue the Sisyphus-ian analogy, got me to put hands to boulder and start pushing. I’m excited to be back at work and back in class and looking forward to a productive fall as well. It’s one more step to seeing what I can do with all this. As old as I am it just may be too late to be looking, but at lest I’ll never have to wonder.
I’m also hanging out with baited breath waiting for the release of the Wapsipinicon Almanac with my essay in it. And hoping I can volunteer to appear at readings.. like the one that will take place at Prairie Lights in Iowa City. That would be a bucket list item for me for sure!
Next time.. I’ll get into that whole Why-I-don’t-always-do-what-I-know-works thing. You know… the I should do this, or I should do that. You should join me for it!