Revising takes way longer than I expected when I got started on it. It’s a bit frustrating. But when I got my new office all set up and sat in there on the first morning, I found that I just couldn’t sit and edit on the computer. The system I eventually settled on was going through each scene and rewriting them on paper (with changes). Because I can be very tactile when it comes to paper and pens and whatnot, I’ve only been able to concentrate for more than five minutes if I use a real wooden pencil. Which means lots of sharpening. And then of course I have to retype everything. But I’ve been very happy with my results so far.
Welcome to the brain of a writer.
Somehow, maybe because of the time it takes to go from brain to pen, I’ve always written better by hand. So, it’s slower, but I’m less likely to need 5 or 6 drafts this way. And I suppose that’s an acceptable trade. But between that and the fact that I’ve been working, there was no way I was going to get the thing ready for the ABNA deadline.
I felt like things were moving slowly, but I wasn’t quantifying it in any way, so it was just my impression. So I sat down and figured out how many pages I’d edited and how many pages there were total. And things really were moving slowly, though 10% isn’t such a bad number. It was nowhere near 100% though. In the end, the important thing is that I’ve been learning to quantify things so that I can hold myself accountable for my writing time. I put a nifty little progress bar on here, and I’ve been keeping a log in Joe’s Goals (which I love). So if I go more than a day without working on things, I can see it visually. And that should help tremend0usly.
I took one of those tests that tell you your learning style back when I was tutoring. And the conclusion was that I was all of them, with a little bit higher score in Reading/Writing. As a tutor, it meant that I could translate things into different learning styles. But when it comes to how I work, it means that I’m visual for some things, aural for others, tactile for others. Like how I won’t remember how to get somewhere (even if I’ve been there dozens of times) unless I actually drive there myself. And if I don’t have a place for bills to be right in front of me, I forget that I need to send people checks (this is one of those things that I particularly hate about myself). And when I’m editing something, I have to print it out and do it on paper, usually with a certain pen or pencil. It can be frustrating sometimes to try to figure out a new system when I’m trying something I haven’t done before. But eventually I hit on a system that works. And for now, the cobbled together progress bar + logbook + office hours thing seems to be working.
Though, it makes me curious. I know other writers have to have weird quirks like my pencil thing. I wonder how many different weird writing rituals there are out there.
Tax season has arrived. And tax season always lead to contemplation of the weirdest thing about me. Now, my husband might say that there are much weirder things. And my best friend might say that my love for my husband is the weirdest thing. But, to me, the weirdest thing is my love of doing taxes. And here’s why. When most people who know I’m a writer find out that I do taxes (or vice versa), they ask how I can do both. And really, I have no idea.
A number of years ago, I took one of those tests that determine what your learning style is: Reading/Writing, Aural, Tactile/Kinesthetic, or Visual. And while I scored highest in Reading/Writing, all of the other three were tied at a number that was not significantly lower. So basically, while I’m most comfortable with Reading/Writing, I can learn in any way that a teacher can teach. And that seems to go even further. Once I know and understand something, I can translate it into any learning style. I used that to my advantage a lot when I was tutoring.
The weird thing is that almost exclusively tutored math (even though I was a History major with aspirations as a writer). I hated math from 8th grade all the way through high school. Then, my freshman semester at college, I took college algebra with a professor that wasn’t actually a member of the math department. He was the dean of the computer information sciences department. All of his examples and explanations involved computers. And I loved that. As a person that somehow managed to grow up around computers, that was a language that I understood. Not only did I actually comprehend that class, it suddenly felt like all the classes before it suddenly made more sense. And that seemed to unlock a door. Because I could now take algebra and make it English for all the poor masses that don’t speak Mathematician. And later, when I started doing taxes, I found I ended up doing a lot of the same. People don’t just want to know that they took the standard deduction, they want to know why (especially if they had charitable contributions or medical expenses). And I tell them. In English. Because most people don’t speak IRS.
In that way, I guess, math and taxes are the same as writing. I’m taking something in my head, translating it for all the people who aren’t in my head, and then putting it on paper. And with math and taxes, I like that there’s a right and wrong answer. When I’m done with a day of taxes, I don’t wonder if they were good. I don’t wonder if it’s a big waste of my time to do it. Because numbers don’t play around like words to. At least not at the level of math that I know. And definitely not at the taxes level. Those numbers always mean the same thing, do the same thing, and give the same answer. That’s why I like doing taxes, and I like tutoring math. The numbers don’t mess with my head and make me feel crazy. And it’s nice to take a break from crazy once in a while.