Creative Slogging: Cleaning Up After Myself
The joy of blogging is that I usually get to write about what I’m excited about. This week, I’m not. Excited. About. Writing.
I’m currently slogging through edits of the new book, which makes it sound like the writing is done. It’s not, but the only way to see what’s still missing is to clean up what is already there. Kind of like doing all the dishes so you can wipe down the counters.
I have to say this is not the fun part.
If I were more of an outliner and less of a complete seat of the pants writer, maybe this stage wouldn’t be quite so necessary or time-consuming. But I’ve tried outlining, and it doesn’t work for me. For whatever reason, my characters never seem inclined to follow a strict planned-out path.
So I’m cleaning up after myself. Unnecessary words, phrases, and even whole chapters go into the “history” folder. (I’m not quite ready yet to put them in the trash.) It would be much easier to edit if this were someone else’s work, because the rabbit holes would be so much more obvious. Instead I get sucked down a few here and there, because I’m just as interested today in what my characters think about a particular topic as I was when I first wrote it out… even if it’s totally irrelevant to the story I’m trying to tell.
I’ve been through this before with previous books, so I understand this is a crucial part of my creative process. But previous books have not included so many different characters, and it simply takes longer to get to know a larger group of people. So there are more wasted words to toss out now.
I believe in this story and what will come out of slogging through this part. And my writing joy will return… so please stay tuned.