Monday, April 25, 2011

Sometimes Editing can Kickstart the Muse

You've been working on a novel for about three years.  You finished it and put it away for a while as you began your next project.  Then you pulled it out, revised, tweaked, revised, got feedback then revised some more.  You've been doing this for about six months now and think you've gone as far as you can without professional help.

Then you pull a book on writing off the shelf and start reading a chapter about editing and revising your own work.  Two pages in  you realize you're not done revising.  And as you read the instructor's advice you see revisions that you need to make spring to your mind's eye.  And suddenly you even see a new end to your novel, and that leads you to see how to polish the first chapter.  Now you're juiced because you weren't content with those two paragraphs - you thought you could do better - but couldn't see how to improve them.  But now you do and you found it on your own and isn't that amazing.

So you put on music that fuels your fire and you grab the large mug of coffee and get to the keyboard.  Your fingers are like lightening across the keys.  You can't type fast enough to get it all down but you do your best.  You create and fill the pages with new and better material.  You write for hours not paying attention to the clock or the hunger in your stomach or the tiredness of your eyes.  You have to get it all down in that magic moment that is so elusive.

Now it's time to put it away again, at least for a few days.  No need now to worry about puncutation and spelling and grammar.  It's not necessary to fret over word choice or voice or pacing or any other element.  Just open the decanter and let it breathe for a while.  Let the pages swirl around in your subconscious while you go about the business of your life and your writing.  Plenty of time to come back to it later and see it once again with fresh eyes.

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