I’m back in the groove this week – back to work/life balance (or as near as I can get). One of the things you will hear about writing as that you should do SOMETHING every day. Write, edit, critique. Something writing related, to keep your brain focused. It’s much like anything else you want to do well. Like basketball, or baseball, or tennis. The more you practice, the better you get. And I’m feeling rusty.
My day job is very streaky. There are days when I’m so busy I can’t see straight which translate into lots of extra hours, and there are days when things are much more laid back. We just finished with the hectic deadline season (which is not to say there are no more deadlines, just not as frantic – or so we hope). It was very compressed this year, work spilling over into my writing time, so I haven’t been as diligent as I might have been. And now I’m paying the price.
Although Epitaph is done, I’m the type of writer that spits it all out and then cleans up the mess later. You’ll find lots of writers who are overly verbose, and their clean-up consists of cutting and chopping and leaving half their work on the editing floor. Not me. I tend to write what I like to call a detailed outline. In essence, it is the complete story, minus some of the details that bring it to life. That being said, I’m going back through Epitaph now and filling in the holes that were left behind. We’re talking CHAPTERS. And I’m motivated. With an editor requesting a partial, I want to make sure I can get those holes filled quickly for when (!) she requests the complete manuscript. I have two chapters in the works and as I submit them to my critique group (and this is where I really appreciate my critique partners the most) they’re scraping off my rust. Like crutch words. When you’re working in “well oiled” mode, you see them almost as quickly as you type them, or at least when you self-edit. Silly me. I pushed a chapter through with one of my most popular crutch words (“back” for those of you who are wondering) littered all through it (go ahead, count how many times I’ve used it in this post and you’ll see what I mean. I’m leaving them in.). The critique comes back and I roll my eyes. Couldn’t I have seen those before I put it in?
But I’m making progress. Not only am I productive on the story again, the gentle reminders will get me back into a better self-editing writing mode. (See, I used “back” again! And I noticed!) My fingers are itching and my brain is humming – my imagination has been repressed for too long. So without further ado, I must return (I didn’t use “back” this time) not only to cleaning up Epitaph but the new story that wants to be converted from information jotted in my notebook to an outline, to a file on my computer with characters and locations. Today, I’m thinking the working title might be Hoodoo you think you are . . . but that probably won’t stick.