Archive for the ‘revisions’ Tag
Work has been dead. Really, really dead. As in, I’ve been working 21 hours a week and doing 1 tax return in that time. Now, a person might say, “Hey, Debra, that leaves about 20 hours for you to do revisions in.” And I would agree. Except.
The phone rings. People walk in and out (there’s a bell on the door, so it doesn’t matter if they aren’t a client, I still always look when someone goes in or out). The other tax pros talk about whatever. They’re building a bank and some townhouses across the street. It all adds up to me being highly distracted at work. Which really cuts into my revision time. But maybe this week, I’ll pull them back out and see. Even if I only make it through one page in a week, at least I’ve made it through that page.
On another topic, my writers group has decided to write a group novel. It’s an exercise that’s basically designed to keep us all writing, by giving us a deadline and such. The woman who came up with the idea wrote the first chapter and then she drew a name from those who were interested to see who would write the next chapter. And I get to do chapter 2. Which makes me very happy for multiple reasons. First, I have become very good at turning off my internal editor for rough drafts. Thus, I can write even during my highly distracted work time. At least, I can write a first draft in that time.
Second, sometimes just doing something can prompt a person into doing the thing they should have been doing all along. So I’m hoping that writing my chapter will get me back into a rhythm of working that will translate into getting right back into my revisions when my chapter is done.
Lastly, I sometimes feel a little bit like the odd man out in our group. We’re getting a few other science fiction writers, but I’m the only one that really writes what I write. So, if I want to have anything super-powerish in the novel, the early chapters are the time to bring it in. And we can’t really get any earlier than chapter two. So I’m very pleased that I’ll be able to have a strong impact on the direction of the characters and such. Though, in chapter 3, they could kill anyone off that they want and basically undo it all. But I still feel like I have a big part in the development of the story this early on. So I like that I got chapter 2. And I’m greatly interested to see what we’ll end up with when we’re done.
I’ve finally caught up to myself. Between working and getting sick and my husband getting sick and my daughter getting sick, I’ve managed to finish going through the critiques that I got from my writers group. Which basically means that I’ve made it back to the point where I’d edited to before. Which means I’ve still been working, but my progress meter can’t be moved forward. I should be moving it forward quickly from here though. This tax season is incredibly slow, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of editing time while I’m at work this week.
In the meantime, we’ve got more snow. So I suppose I’d better get to work so we can see some flowers and grass soon. I’ve decided that it’s going to continue being cold and snowy until I don’t need it for my revision work anymore. And if I don’t pick up the pace soon, people in Topeka might start getting cabin fever.
Work on my revisions has been few and far between (though I actually have a large amount done that just need to be transferred to the computer) and mostly done at H&R Block in between clients. It makes it a little hard to figure out how much time I’ve spent on it, so my row on Joe’s Goals is terribly empty. But I’m still making a little bit of time when I can. And we’ve hit the end of Peak. Peak is the two weeks of the tax season that are the busiest. Over half of the tax returns we do in a given year happen by the end of the first week in February. So, hours will be cut back and that means more time at home for working on revisions. Of course, it also means less income, but I’m trying to figure that part out.
There is someone who’s been working just as hard as usual: my Muse. I need to buy some manila folders so that I can create a place for keeping track of all the ideas she keeps throwing me. And I kind wish she’d take a vacation, at least from the idea-generation part of her job. Since right now, I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I could easily keep myself busy for eight hours a day for months, just with the projects I already have on my pile. But, I suppose once I make the transition to paid author, it’ll be nice to have the girl tossing ideas at me all the time. It’s just hard to appreciate it when I’m too busy to take advantage of her help.
I hope everyone else’s muses are workaholics, too.
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.
I have discovered that now is the perfect time to be revising my novel. In my first drafts, I didn’t really bring much weather into play. I never had much trouble making word counts, so I never felt like I had to describe weather and such in miniscule details in order to get the words. So, it was mostly glossed over as I worked toward just getting the story down.
But, as I’ve been going through the revisions, I’ve realized that there should be a lot of cold going on. Things begin with the main character worrying about surviving the winter on her very meager paycheck. And then she wanders off for a months long journey without meeting any snow along the way. And with the severe drought issues plaguing the world, maybe she still won’t run into snow. But she should definitely run into some chilly mornings, when her breath turns into fog in front of her. There should be cold nights, spent beneath a blanket, her teeth chattering as she fights to ignore the numbness of her toes. There should be cold winds that steal her breath away and leave her cheeks feeling burned. And all of these things are things that I’ve become reacquainted with recently, since it’s snowed several feet in the last few weeks. It’s been cold, then less cold, then even colder than before. My fingertips have gone numb from shoveling a driveway. My toes have gotten wet from the snow and frozen in my shoes. I’ve gone to bed and cuddled up beneath several blankets because we were trying to save a little money and keep the heat down just a little.
And all that stuff, means that I still remember cold as I’m writing all the soon to be wintery stuff. Which just creates a new reason to make my deadline of the 25th. Because even if I don’t submit to ABNA, I’ll still want to get these revisions done while I still remember what cold feels like.