“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit-detector.”
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (2nd edition)
Publication Date: May 5, 2008
Page Number: 272
I did some soul searching this last weekend and this week as well. I’m not going to lie in that I’ve struggled lately with my rewriting. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to those following my blog. I’m not doing it consistently like I should for a handful of reasons. The biggest one is the criticisms I’m bound to get from some people such as you shouldn’t have done that or you should’ve done this. It’s sent me on the path of constant revisions and by the end of it, completely exhausted body, mind, and spirit. This need to be as close to perfection is not healthy, but I wonder if my writing is really all that great and just mediocre as they say. I’m not a outline kind of person as I formulate plots and different scenes I want in my head and then stew on them. It seems I’ve wasted so much time doing all kinds of things to preoccupy myself away from these thoughts, but never really being far away.
I’m really hoping this serves as a portal into what NOT to do for my next story write and rewrite. I’m hoping it takes half the time. I try to be as patient as I can with this, but this is driving me nuts. I just want this done, but I don’t want to stop short of reaching its full potential. There’s a breaking point, and I believe I’ve reached this point. At the advice of my roommate since I’m still in the same boat as last year, revolving through the rewriting door, I’m going to devote an hour each day on it and see where it gets me. Once I’ve reached the final page, I’m going to hand it over for him to read. I expect this to be done by the end of this year. I want it to be done by the end of this year. It should be done by the end of this year. It must be done by the end of this year.
I wrote 20 pages in my journal last night about a wide gamut of things to try to restart and revamping what I do in my free time so I’m not spinning in the same place year after year. My roommate asked me do I want to be a writer? Of course, I said YES because I believe that is one of my reasons for existing. His response was, paraphrasing, “maybe, you don’t because you spend a lot of time not writing.” Point noted, AGAIN. So, to make my head spin even more, I recently read this book and became overwhelmed in some ways. I’ve written a lengthy piece before, but that was for educational purposes It’s time to dig deep and get this done so I can do it again and then thirteen more times, but with less mental resistance. The bottom line is I really hope others don’t struggle as much as I do and if you are, then you’re bouncing back quicker than I do.
The main reason for this entry was to suggest this self-editing and revision book to fellow writers. It has a lot of great information and while any book can be rewritten again, there comes a point in time where one more time is the best option (and then maybe one more time for minor changes). This is where I’m at with it and come hell or high water the bulk of it will be done by the end of this year. Another great thing about this book is it gives examples on how to improve your writing and not just an author telling you to make it better or gives you minimal information we all know. Think what a paragraph looked like before and what it looks like after, and all in the effort to make it read and flow better. I was doing some of it already before reading this book but it goes to show there’s more to be done. Serious writers aren’t for the faint of heart. I won’t deny it’s hard to sometimes write when you have a full time job, work overtime, need to exercise, and have countless other bullshit things to do. This is life for most of us. Yesterday, my emotions were charged, like throwing 25 colors onto a canvas out of rusty paint cans. The rawest emotion one can feel is anger and that is what I felt for not meeting my creative expectations and not having enough time (what a concept). Today, not so much, but still a note to myself: GET THIS FUCKER DONE!
And because I like quotes, here are some quotes about writing by writers including one of my own.