Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Yeah, I'm a hypocrite.

We all have a little pocket of hypocrisy somewhere, but here is mine:

I harp on my editing clients to revise. I chastise them for thinking they're done after one, two, and sometimes more drafts. I feel vindicated when someone's hard work at revision pays off and they come out with some surprising little nugget of brilliance that only the revision succeeded in pulling up.

But I, I am a lazy sonofabitch when it comes to revising. I fight it, eschew it, revolt against it. I mean, I DO it, but generally only because something, or someone presses me to. This is what journalism is good for. An editor gives me suggestions, I take them, I hand back in the product and runs.

I was just having a conversation with a good writing friend yesterday who has been writing steadily, daily on a "thing" she can't even allow herself to call a book. She said, "I can't even let myself think of what I'm going to do with this hulking thing when I'm done." I completely understood where she was coming from. I can barely look at my most recently completed novel draft. It feels so frought with problems, so full of holes that to look at it is like looking at a lpartner who you know you're going to have to break up with but haven't yet figured out how to say it. Their very face makes you feel mad/guilty/sick/trapped.

The solution, I believe is to form mini-societies amongst your writing friends, write little contracts or pacts with each other that essentially promise to push and drive and nudge you to finish things that you have started, to never give up on them. I cringe when I hear stories where someone rewrote an entire book from scratch. I mean, I've done it--I did it with my second novel (not that it got published as a result, heh heh)--so in a way I'm even more well-positioned to know exactly how much work it is. But then I hear about other people who put something down for three years and then come back to it. Three YEARS? I hate everything I wrote three years ago. NO WAY!

So, as you can see, I'm in the market for one of these contractual nudges...if you want to sign up to crack the whip over me, generally push and prod and force me to revise, well, let me know. I need you.



At 8:42 PM, Blogger Maurie said...

Sign me up. What really is good to know is that other writers look at their stuff and want to throw up. Just looking at things I write makes me want to hurl. I guess I'm in good company.


Post a Comment

<< Home