I used to brag that I could write anywhere. On lunch hours, I would scribble in a small black notebook, as I sat parked in my car under a tree at a park near my office. I could find a diner and write for an hour without noticing the time at all (like I did in this photo, to the left). Sometimes, I would take my laptop to my nearby coffee shop, and I could peck away at the keys, oblivious to the hustle around me. Usually, I’m typing fast in my favorite chair, children playing around me and my husband cooking dinner in the kitchen as I hurry to complete the next scene before somebody hollers “Mom!”
Yet lately, I’ve wanted (no, maybe needed) more perfect conditions. I’ve sequestered myself to my bedroom and locked the door, hoping no one (i.e. children) will notice that I’m hiding with my manuscript. I’ve waited until the house was empty to even open my working document, sure that nothing will get done unless I have Complete. Total. Silence. I make excuses for why I can’t work, for why nothing is getting done. And nothing is getting done-- at least on this manuscript-- that’s for sure.
What’s changed? It’s not me. It’s the nature of my project, and my project has changed. I am now no longer writing when I crack open the antiquated laptop that has housed my baby for the past few years. I’ve actually finished it, all 100,871 words-- at least the writing part of it. The thing that has changed? I’m now an editor- no longer a writer. And I’ve realized that as much as I know nothing about writing, I know even less about where to place a comma, how to spell, or when to edit out a scene or add a new one. An editor? I am not.
I’m out of my league, once again.
Last night, I went back to one thing I do know: management. I decided to tackle my editing as I did my writing, as I do my work, and my life. I make lists, prioritize them, shuffle them, and give myself deadlines. I set short-term and long-term goals and I rank the elements of the project by size and scope.
I won’t bore you with the list. It ranges from everything from scenes to add, to words to cut, to character development and consistancy of voice. But for me, it’s pure gold. I’ve found a starting place on my new phase of writing this novel- the non-writing part.
What about you? How do you make it through the post-writing let down and through the editing phase? Please share. I'll take any advice I can get!