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Perched on the Horns of a Dilemma August 23, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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The title of this post is one of my favorite metaphors. When it came into my mind I felt compelled to use it. And it even fits with the topic of this post.

Having finished the ‘shitty first draft’ of my novel, I am now mulling over how best to go to the next phase—editing.

Many writers intensely dislike the editing process because they don’t like the tediousness of going back and fixing all the stuff that is not worthy of being read by anyone. Fortunately for me, I happen to love editing. I can go over and over a piece that I have written, adding a word, deleting a sentence, re-thinking dialogue. However, a novel is a bit intimidating. Being intimate with 50,000+ words can be daunting even in the abstract (the abstract being that I have done nothing thus far to edit my novel).

But there’s hope! Everything I have read about how to edit a novel suggests letting it sit for a while—a while being anywhere from one month to eight. As a confirmed procrastinator I love this suggestion. Leave it sitting for a while? No problem. I embrace it!

That leaves me with the quandary of what to work on next. Now that I have fully integrated writing into my day-to-day life, I need a project. I have also fully integrated quilting, reading, spiritual development, and dancing into my life. But finding time for all of those activities is yet another story, not for exploration now.

You may have noticed that I have NOT mentioned fully integrating yard work, house cleaning or de-cluttering into my life. For me those tasks always seem to come as a surprise. Oh, I probably should clean the bathroom, or perhaps it’s time to cut the ankle-high grass in my front yard. I believe I need a wife..I digress.

Back to what to do next… I have in fact identified my next project—one which I have mentioned in previous posts. It’s a non-fiction book on how successful relationships can make the workplace (and life) more rewarding and productive. So now I am noodling around with how to dive into that project. Starting is always a challenge.

One of my writing friends is trying to convince me to save it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which happens every November. I pointed out that I am not writing a novel and she assured me that it’s ok to write non-fiction during that time.(Drat) I’m still not convinced, however. There is something in me that is afraid if I let it wait until November, I’ll lose my momentum and enthusiasm for the project. I’d also like to have the NaNoWriMo opportunity for writing another novel that’s been on my mind. (I love possibilities. They are so much sexier than realities.)

So I am left with the alternative of just starting and seeing where I get. My challenge in pursuing that path is that once again I have to carve out consistent writing time each week, along with exercise, meditation, family time, oh, and then there’s work. But enough whining. It can be done; I have done it.

I got my novel draft done by staying determined. Even when I felt that I was getting nowhere with the novel, I stayed firm in my declaration to write a novel. And I have come to understand in a deeper way than before that being determined has amazing power. It also helps if I tell someone, preferably a lot of someones, what I am determined to accomplish. Then when I find myself wavering on a declaration that I hold near and dear, I mentally stamp my foot to the universe and say, “I said I was going to do this.” And somehow I find the wherewithal to continue.

I’d love to hear how declarations have made a difference in your life….

—–Amara

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Comments»

1. thelifeandlovesoflucid - August 23, 2009

Thankyou edgyangel, looking forward to visiting your blog again, meanwhile Ì have to step away from the keyboard before my fingers spontaneously combust…Lucid

2. thelifeandlovesoflucid - August 23, 2009

Hi there,
having procrastinated and having been writing notes, diaries, short stories, poetry and one liners on scraps of paper for over 30 years (I`m older than I look) I have finally started a blog which seems to be deveopng into the novel and vehicle for my alter ego and her exploits. Whether it`s worthy, noteable or of any interest or amusement to anyone remains to be seen and it`s clearly an exercise in editing, re-editing and writing as ´words` in progress, so I was interested to read your determined and self efacing approach to the process itself.
My friends encouraged me having seen snippets and living vicariously through the musings of my alter ego and central character, so I seized the day and went and got a blog. It seems the frivolous stuff is coming public first, but I do have other strings, stories and experences that I have strong opnions about and at least two other novels stuck in a shoebox under the bed. So I say, if it feels good, do it. I write because I feel I have something to say, I write to release all the love, pain and human experience and because sometimes I think what I have written is interesting, funny or because someone says they like it, it made them laugh, feel pensive or ache. Do it cause you enjoy it, write what you feel, write about what you know, enjoy the cathartic exposure and let the rest take care of itself. As for letting your stuff sit for a while, fine, yes read it, when it`s raw, put it away and revisit it, but by the same token don`t over edit or constantly make additions (according to the ´How to Write a Novel Self- Help and Paperback Philosophy Rues) until it becomes something else. I find the words find me, I just have to capture them and assemble them in some sort of coherent order. I love the word ´wherewithall`by the way. All the best

edgyangel - August 23, 2009

What a wonderful mini-essay on procrastination and the love of the written word. It’s inspiring to know I’m not alone. Thanks for the comment…


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