Writing, Editing, and Reading

I woke up super early today to write, edit, and possibly go for a run. I decided against the run, because my calves are hurting. I’m feeling a little bit like I should go, since it may be my only chance at exercise until Saturday. I’ll have to break out the exercise video tomorrow morning, and I hate those dreaded things.

I’m still rewriting Little Birdhouses, and I figure it will be awhile before it’s ready. I printed it off, and I’m reading it aloud and making commentary on the edges of the paper, figuring out what needs to be cut, what doesn’t make sense, etc. I’m working on Chapter Four and thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was writing in my sleep or smoking crack when I wrote this dribble. I’m also wondering how many times, “she stood” or “she nodded” needs to show up in my work. Lots of strike-throughs are littering my pages, but this is good thing because I’m making it better!

Garden_birds_house

“Garden birds house” by CaliforniaCat0001

In Chapter Four, Lana (the protagonist) meets Gideon Peterson for the first time. I love this line, even though it needs a little work grammatically still, “Just like the birdhouses, I felt Gideon Peterson creep into the back of my mind and secure his place there ready to haunt me at any moment.”

Creepy huh? Romantic, maybe? Obsessive: yes. It’s funny when you’re editing and you feel like all you write is shit, and then all of a sudden there’s a redeeming sentence in the mist, and you, as the author think, “Oh yeah, maybe I really can write.”

And birds, they seem to be taking over my life despite my dislike for them. I’m reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott right now, and I’m wondering how I’ve come so far in my writing career without reading this book. It is hilarious and true. I’m not very far into the book yet, but I just read her chapter on perfectionism and I couldn’t agree more. This is a book every writer should read along with On Writing by Stephen King.

What are some books that have made a difference in your life?


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8 thoughts on “Writing, Editing, and Reading

  1. Ah ha! I’ve been up most of the night editing a blog post, finding pictures, writing and rewriting, writing to people for permission where it’s needed! My writing is nowhere near as creative as yours, but I identify with you completely! I just wish mine came out sounding half as glorious as yours does when I finish! I love you work, does it show? Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen–I was thinking about you the other day! Thank you for being so supportive of me. Keep plugging away! You are doing great. Editing is a wild beast, huh? I have a love/hate relationship with it!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean! I groan at some of the sentences I wrote, especially when even my non-native speaker eye catches the horrible grammar or some other writerly sin. And then, I find something particularly good. Like: “Wow. This seduction scene is really good!” Those moments push me to edit more, to make the novel perfect: because I feel it’s worth it.

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  3. I put so much pressure on myself to write a wonderful first, or second, draft. I think I do that so I won’t have so much editing and revising to do. In the process, nothing goes according to plan, and I end up writing a new draft altogether. Getting to the point where I can just write without worrying about being perfect is troublesome. It’s reassurance that I can make mistakes; that nothing I write is going to be perfect. The perfectionist wants to take over when I write. It’s worse when I want to type out my drafts.

    I have to say to myself that it’s okay if the draft isn’t the best; it’s not meant to be.

    By the way, I finished reading Bird by Bird. One of the best books on the craft of writing I’ve ever read. On Writing is right up there, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear you like Bird by Bird. I haven’t read it in two days, with the start of school for the kids, so I need to get back to it. It’s hard to let the perfectionism go, but I find I write better when I stop editing in the middle. I save my edits for the end, or else I would never finish anything.

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      • Editing while typing, especially, is the most frustrating thing. Even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking of ways to make my stories better, which is not a bad thing. It gets frustrating when it happens in the middle of writing. That’s why I write out my drafts and don’t type them. But someone brought up a good point. If I am going to submit these stories and one day write a novel, then I need to type them out. It will help with editing and revising. And I need to push through my perfectionist of an inner editor. Get it all out now, edit later.

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      • I never edit while I type. I wait and go back afterwards, and I think it’s really helped me to cut down on the perfectionism. I always type too, unless I’m stuck and then I write out on a notepad. I love talking to people about how they write! It’s awesome to see others experiences.

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