Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 77 of 365: One or the Other

I've been simultaneously working on my third manuscript while editing my second. I have learned something very important:

I can have a writing day, or I can have an editing day. But I cannot, for the love of God, have both.

There's a simple reason why you can have one or the other: you can either be in a demolition mode or construction mode. You can have a hammer and nail -- or a sledgehammer. Bad things will happen if you go in with a mindset of demolition and tear down brand new drywall -- or if you go in with a mindset of construction and naively hammer away while the wrecking ball loads up.

*Cough* please excuse me for a second: I CAME IN LIKE A WREEEECKING BAAAAALL...

' Sorry. Had to be done.

Anyway. I learned that even the idea of rewriting shouldn't be anywhere in your mind when writing your first draft. You know it's an inevitability, but right now this is your baby. This is your perfect little baby who is just starting to learn to walk. You want to cherish and nurture this moment, no step back and go, "Yeah, but look at that duckwalk." As Stephen King would say, you are writing with the door closed. This is your moment. No one else's.

Likewise, when editing, your mind has to be as cold and calculated as a killer's. Because that's what you're doing: you're killing your darlings. You're deleting words and ideas that you slaved over, because you recognize that these darlings actually trip up the story at large. You kill off the details to save the bigger picture.

*Cough* excuse me again: [in her best Spock voice] The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Man, what is into me today?

There are few things as nihilistic as trying to write when your mind has been busy destroying and rebuilding sentences left and right. Likewise, there are few things as unproductive as trying to edit when your mind is busy adoring all the little creations you made.

So, my mind is made up: I can have an editing day, or a writing day. But I After one-too-many days of leaving my third manuscript after hating every single sentence I typed out (and one-too-many days of reading over my second manuscript, pretending like it's perfectly fine the way it is when we all know that's a dirty lie), I am putting my foot down.

Writing in the blog doesn't factor in, of course, since this is almost entirely stream of conscious. As made clear by my Miley Cyrus/Spock moments.

Now there's an image: Spock as Miley Cyrus. You're welcome, everyone's brain.

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