November 21, 2011

A Writer's Life - The Chainsaw Incident

Last week I posted this as my status update: Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword hasn't seen me doing revisions. I'm talking chainsaw, baby!

There is no pen mighty enough for my trusted chainsaw. Most of the time I keep her in the basement where she slowly gathers dust. When I finally bring her in for some editorial support she will inevitably leave a path of destruction in her wake. Bloodbath is all I'm saying.

Every writer knows that writing a book isn't just fun and games. And it's not "just writing" either. It involves planning and plotting and screaming and yelling and then, maybe, a bit of typing too. Alright, I might be exaggerating, but only a bit.

One of my nasty writing habits is starting to revise in the middle of the creative flow. So basically I'm sitting here, writing. Threads are connecting, dialogues are emerging, and characters are pretty much doing what they want, and not what I tell them to. So I sit back every once in a while, looking at the last paragraph I've just composed. The next step might be obvious yet it isn't. I could simply continue where I just broke off or I could listen to the nagging voice that urges me to take a quick look at a certain passage as the wording could use a small but important change. This, my friends, is the beginning of the end. Of writing, that is.

Let me introduce you to the bad habit of spontaneous revising. This is one of the major mistakes I will make time and again. When you're on a roll don't stop to do something else ... unless your bladder is full and you need a potty break, which is perfectly ok. Just the same it is ok to walk the dog, make yourself a cup of tea, do the laundry, or water the plants. But. Do. Not. Revise. It will only harm your creative flow. Revising and writing are two very different pairs of shoes. There are days for the comfy slippers (writing) and there are days for those pesky heels (revising). Don't put on the slipper on one foot and the heels on the other. Settle for one pair at a time. Trust me, this works better in the long run. Run. Ha, love how this fits my footwear comparison.

Where was I?
My chainsaw.

This would be me.
With my chainsaw.
And the monsters lurking in my books.

Of course this isn't really me. My boobs are smaller, my butt bigger, and my hair longer, but ... hmmm, come to think of it, I do like that haircut! And the hair color really is like mine. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that a girl, I mean writer, has got to do what a writer's got to do. Though, before you start, don't forget to stack up on a mop, a bottle with bleach, and some body bags. 'Nuff said.

Copyright of the very cool picture belongs to Serge Birault

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