“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.”
Confession: I am really, really, R-E-A-L-L-Y ready to be finished with edits for this book. In fact, that point was reached … hmm, probably sometime last week. Or the week before. Or the week before that. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the gist of it is true. It’s super cool to see the book come together into its tightest version, but sometimes the thought of journeying through more rounds of revisions has me wanting to pull my hair out. There’s just so much to condense. Yes, it’s been a fabulous learning process in more ways than one. Yes, it’s taught me things my previous books haven’t. Yes, the story is stronger for it, and that alone makes the countless hours worth it. And yes, most of the time I sincerely do enjoy the work. The actual writing will always be my favorite part, but there’s something almost enlightening about the revision process. But in terms of practicality? Here’s an equation:
Five hours of consistent editing per day + another hour or two of query research and writing + a mind that absolutely refuses to turn off, even during downtime = bleariness. Seriously, it’s no wonder that my vision’s swimming by the end of each day. Fellow writers – or anyone who spends the majority of the day sitting at a desk – I need your help. Any tips for reducing eye strain? Neck aches? My back has been bothering me, too, but that’s my own fault, because I tend to sit very far forward in my chair when I work. Apparently my subconscious thinks that the closer I physically am to the computer screen, the closer I’ll be threaded into the folds of the editing process. Ha. I’ve been making a point to keep better, straighter posture, though, and it’s helping. Does anyone have any ideas for easing neck pain? Mine has been bugging me a lot lately, and given that I spend so many hours with it in the same position, that’s understandable. I’m really trying to fix it now, and any suggestions anyone has would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance, y’all.
Back to the editing process. I’m proud to say that, 3/4 through the third round of revisions, I have officially cut out nearly 40,000 words and 119 pages. How crazy is that? I think back to the first book I wrote, when deleting more than a sentence at a time had me cringing. It, quite literally, makes me laugh out loud. Writing this manuscript was the catharsis I needed during such a terribly horrendous time in my life, and continuing work on it now … it’s done more than simply teach me about the craft. It’s taught me how to let go, how to part with things that aren’t necessary – no matter how attached I may feel to them – and that sometimes less really is more. Maybe those are lessons I needed to learn. Maybe they’re ones we all need a reminder of sometimes.
And, because I find this too cool a phenomenon not to share, one of the things I wasn’t expecting as much from revisions is how surprised I’ve been – surprised by things I wrote that I honestly have no recollection of typing out. I guess it’s because I was so completely and fully immersed in the story, so wrapped up in the mindset of my characters, but there have been a few times when I come across a paragraph and am literally taken aback by it. “I WROTE that?” I think to myself. It’s kinda strange, but kinda cool, too. Has anyone else ever had that happen?
I’ll be at the shore next week – we’re squeezing in a few more days there since Hurricane Irene rained on our parade last time, and I am DETERMINED to finish this round of edits before leaving on Monday. I have been working on this one for two and a half weeks now – I’m being so strict about deletions that I only get through 20-25 pages per day – and will be forcing myself to take an actual break while we’re away this time. As much as I love these characters and telling their story, my eyes need a rest. My neck, back, and head need a rest. But my mind? Well, no promises about not beginning some outlining and planning on the next book in the interim. This may be a labor, after all, but it’s one of true love. It’s one where giving anything other than a hundred percent is unfathomable. It’s a true, deeply entrenched work of heart. And that? It makes it all worth it.