Revising Reminds Me of Moving

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Right now I am pretty much the busiest I have ever been. I am working back and forth a little with my agent of awesomeness on my book, my kid is doing the usual thing–dance classes, preschool, playgroups, etc., and oh yeah WE’RE MOVING.

We’ve been packing and cleaning out closets, storage bins, etc. It’s all sorts of crazy–and all in my spare time from THAT I’ve been doing some revising on novel I’m working on. This is very draining. Why? Because they are both some mind boggling-ly brain consuming!

What? You think I’m a crazy person because I just compared packing my crap in a box to revising my baby?

Hmm… maybe I am.

Or MAYBE I’ve gone so bat-nuts insane that I am completely incoherent.

You know like Lady Gaga in that Gossip Girl cameo she did. (What–You don’t watch Gossip Girl? You should, it’s like Nu-Melrose Place, and I don’t mean like the actual Nu-Melrose Place. That show sucks, but Gossip Girl is the bomb-diggity.) Well, anyways… Lady Gaga looked like a complete loon on GG, and since I’m not sure what that has to do with moving or revising, I am just going to start the next paragraph now.

I think it’s time for the part of this blog post where I explain myself, don’t you?

Why Revising is Like Moving:

When you first start packing your stuff, you go through each item individually. You clean everything before you put it into a box. There’s a throw away pile, a keep pile, and a packed pile. It’s the same thing in the first part of your manuscript. You read each sentence over and over again making sure it’s the best damn sentence you can write. Maybe you even read them out loud to your cat significant other. If you don’t like it, you delete delete delete. If it’s good but not perfect maybe you move it to a different file to stick in somewhere else–and even if it’s awesome, you still polish it up and make it sing.

Then, as the moving day gets closer you start throwing stuff into boxes without bothering to clean. The give away pile kind of disappears, and your trash pile shrinks a bit. This is a mess–and a bad idea–but we do it anyway. We toss things in unlabeled boxes, do a poor job of taping things up, and just do anything to get another box full. It’s the same way when you hit the middle of your book. You read through stuff and figure it’s good enough. Sometimes if something just isn’t working, but you know you can fix it, instead of taking the time… you delete it. On occasion we just skip paragraphs all together and pretend it’s ready to go.

What a mess we’ve made.

And finally, you hit that sweet end of the book. It’s the climax, the fun part–or you’re moving into your house in two days! It’s nine different kinds of exciting, and you can’t wait to be done with your book or all moved in. You start shoving stuff in boxes, and speed reading through pages.

Anything to be done.

And then you think you are.

But, um–guess what. You aren’t. If you revised like this or moved like this you are screwing yourself for the unpacking. When you go through to read your book or unpack your crap–neither will make you happy.

So, if you’re revising or you’re moving–you need to take it one box/page at a time. Treat each individual box/page as if it were the ONLY thing you’re moving/revising.

Then, when it’s unpacking/sending your manuscript off time–you’ll feel good about yourself, and in the end it’s less work for everyone!

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One Comment

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