Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Avoiding the rewrite April 18, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 4:58 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve spent the weekend avoiding getting started on my rewrite.

So many other things that needed to be done at home first. It became suddenly crucial to sort out some boxes of junk in the bedroom. Ebay shopping was essential. Long walks were a must.

Then today when I pushed myself to just do writing realted stuff, I had to go over all the workshop info I had on revising . I had to use that  information as the basis to spend hours setting up an elaborate index card/ Post It note system to storyboard the story and make notes about characters, settings, and plot points.

I could keep procrastinating indefinitely. I still have several books on self-editing and rewriting on my shelf I haven’t read yet.  And now here I am writing a blog post about procrastinating, the ultimate in procrastination!

It’s not actually the rewrite I’m avoiding. It’s reading back my first draft and seeing what dreck it is.

What if I’ve just been kidding myself that there’s a good story in there amongst the expected first draft crap? What if it really stinks? What if it’s unsalvageable out and out bad writing?

Only one way to find out. Hold my nose, brace myself, and jump right in.


8 Responses to “Avoiding the rewrite”

  1. Jane Holland Says:

    I’m avoiding my own rewrites, Jane. Aren’t we naughty? Suddenly going out with the kids or rearranging the bookshelves is sooooo much more important and fascinating than rewriting the current WIP, lol!

    I like to tell myself at these moments that procrastination is part of the ‘thinking and preparation’ process, and absolutely essential.


  2. Eileen Says:

    Even if the draft is dreck, the characters are lovable and totally worth saving, so wade on in there and throw em a line!

    (this is being said by the super hypocritical perocrastinator who managed to avoid writing her term paper all weekend and now that she’s started working on it must read/reply to your blog)

    let’s ask a hypothetical question where the inky hypothetical is that you are me: if you got into a six week long intensive genre workshop and you could go life/job-wise but you’d have to change some of your plans (writing and yearly life goals), would you go? I didn’t think I’d get in when I applied to the Sf/F workshop! Now I have too many options!

    (sorry to hijack, but I thought if you were procrastinating anyway …. 😉 )

  3. Eileen Says:

    inky =only

  4. waitingforthecall Says:

    That’s a tough question, Eileen. Congrats on getting into the workshop! It depends what you think will get you closer to your long term writing and life goals- staying home or going to the workshop. Sometimes I have to write a list of pros and cons for each choice to help me decide. It could be that taking the workshop messes up your short term goals but moves you closer to your long term goals? The other thing is – will it be one of those opportunities it seems reasonable to pass up at the time then you kick yourself for later? I’d go for whichever I think will push me hardest with my writing, progress my long term goals, and I’ll have the least decisional regret over. LOL, no help at all am I?

  5. Leanne Says:

    Having been there done that I feel compelled to write a word of support. So here goes. You can’t edit a blank page. And now that you have several full pages you’re halfway there. Or how about this: You must write to improve your writing. I wish you courage, patience, and skill. You are a fine example for me.

  6. Eileen Says:

    I think I would kick myself later if I didn’t go. It’s a matter of working on grad school classes this summer or putting it off and working at the workshop and working on novels in the in between weeks.

    Sometime last night I think I talked myself into doing the workshop. But thinking about it in terms of looking back is great — it makes me all the more certain I should go for it!

    AND This would give me a nice round 14 days to attempt to do a fabulous marathon like you did 🙂

  7. waitingforthecall Says:

    Fab! So glad you are going for it!

  8. waitingforthecall Says:

    Thanks Leanne!

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