I’m experiencing a writer’s high. That sense that you can just do anything.
(Also I’m feeling just generally joyous about my writing and I credit autumn. You the real MVP.)
Typically, I get this feeling when I’m writing first drafts. The anything goes, throw-it-on-the-page-and-worry-about-it-later, first-drafts-are-crap-anyway freedom to just do whatever you want, writing a check for your future self to cash. You might be creating something very broken, but you’re creating it–and you can fix it later.
First drafts are exhilarating for that reason, but exhausting. It’s incredibly exciting to create something entirely from scratch. The only problem is actually, you know, writing the thing.
October has been a big revision month (3-5 hours every day spent staring, reading, re-reading, typing, deleting, typing more, etc). I am now (by yesterday’s calculation) 67% finished with this revision.
I feel (mostly/tentatively) good about this revision. I’ve been sticking to my revision plan and keeping myself from getting distracted when I find other ENORMOUS GLARING PROBLEMS. But if an issue wasn’t listed on my revision plan, I’m ignoring it until the next round.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been focusing on major structural overhaul. The first half of the novel (Part One and Two in the MS) were in pretty decent shape because I’d already done a few rounds of revision there. I’d combed through them, rearranged elements, rewritten or scrapped entire scenes before now.
Since then, I’ve been shifting things around. Taking huge chunks (scenes, speeches, even big plot points) and moving them to somewhere completely different in the text. A lot of that is hugely experimental–gut feelings at the time that I won’t know work until I go back and read this from start to finish. (In my Scrivener project, I have chapters titled “Structure Experiment.”) But hey, if I feel like it might work… might as well go for it, right?
So I’m pretty deep into this anything goes freedom, but in revision it’s different, in my opinion. You can still do whatever you want, but in a way it’s safer. No matter what you do in draft two or three or eight or fifteen, you can always go back. You can always revert to the draft before. And that knowledge is really empowering me to make every change my writer’s gut is telling me to.
Anyway, I’m just really enjoying revising this book, and that’s a bit different for me because I love drafting. I’ve written a handful of manuscripts in roughly two years because I love that messy first draft stage, and I’ve just jumped from project to project.
And in the past, my revisions have typically included drafting new scenes to fill holes or just rewriting. I’ve never juggled so many pieces around before, because I’ve never felt that the book really needed it. But this one is doing a much better job of showing me what it needs.
And after I finish this revision and get some other eyes on it (because sweet heavens I cannot do another revision without other opinions) I’ll be right back to start it again.
We sure can, Pooh. And we will.