Saturday, September 8, 2012

Can I See Your Writer's Liscence?

Yes. There's a problem officer.

As followers of this blog know, I have a book I've worked on for five years.  What I can tell you now that I've written the darn thing is I did everything wrong except to keep going until the end.  Writing a book without an outline (which is what I did), is like sitting down in a car and thinking you can drive on the Autobahn because you've played Mario Go-Kart against your kids and sometimes won after falling into the mushroom pit only twice in a five lap race. 

There are subplot dead ends all over the place. The thing needs a hair cut, a styling and a wash and blow dry with a flat iron. It is my beautiful Frankenstein.  It's alive.   It shouldn't hold together but it does, and it is my creation so I love it.   But it's a wet hot mess that needs work work work.  

When I start to pull at things, there is a domino effect. I write this and it means this needs work and this needs to be addressed and you forgot that, such that I wonder, should I even touch this?  People who know nothing about remodeling but try to "do it yourself" discover that the first step to remodeling is to be willing to tear something down or take something away.   I find when I DIY, there are nails sticking out that shouldn't, holes that weren't there before and eventually, I need to call a professional. Who did I think I was kidding and why am I here driving myself crazy?  It reminds me of 8th grade when I ran a race and I'd gone through three laps of the thing. Everyone else had finished and I lay down.  I didn't quit but I sure thought about it for a few minutes while I caught my breath and wondered why I ever started running in the first place.  What was so important?

I read my book and truthfully, I both want to finish and lay down.   I want to tell everyone I wrote it...and I'm not sure I want anyone to read it.  It is the neurosis that plagues every writer.  We know bad writing. We know good writing. We know there are flashes of both in our work.  We also know the most critical thing is to not be afraid of what we've written or what needs to be rewritten.

Most writers do not like rewriting. It means we are redoing.  It's much more fun to create new worlds and new words.  So we stall. I read on the process of editing. I read a secondary source for the next book. I write about editing. I make copies of the book in hard back so I can edit but call that part of "the process" of editing. I talk about editing. I call others to talk about editing. I buy colored post-its for editing and a special pen, then I lose them and the kids play with them until they don't exist. Darn I have to get more BEFORE I can edit.  Maybe I should wait for my editor to make suggestions.

In short I do everything I can think of without editing.  I work on the next book and pretend I'm not making the same errors of rushing in to write it rather than thinking it through, stubbornly believing because I'm more experienced, I'll not make the same errors.  Rather, it is more likely I'll make the same errors but be convinced I'm not in error, like the way I have to get lost to get to my kid's basketball practice court because I got lost the first time and the second because this is the way I came and that looks familiar, such that going the wrong way has become an ingrained part of getting there intuitively.

Right now, I could be editing.  You know what I'm thinking about doing?  Going downstairs to play Mario Go-Kart.  

Officer, "Would you care to sit down in the chair? There's a warrant for your editing and I've been instructed to take you to your computer."  

Hopefully I'll make parole for good behavior.

1 comment:

Theodore Seeber said...

This is why I like Blogging, but can't seem to find the gumption to turn my blog into a book no matter what I do. Because I can't stand to edit.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!