Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Danger of Being a Writer

I currently have 6 books in finished form (that is, at the very least I have their first draft done). Count 'em. 6. Out of those, only one book is revised and polished enough for me to query (which I am). The others all need to be revised, beta read, and revised some more.

It's quite pathetic, when you think about it.

Granted, not every would-be author can claim they've done 6 books, but I tend to finish a book and then get an idea and keep plowing right on into the next one. Sometimes I'll even interrupt a book in progress to write something else, which I have done. Twice. I often get ideas mid-book and want to go tackle them lest they get away. I know there are other authors out there with this particular little tweak. It's funny because people ask where we get our ideas. Sometimes we know, sometimes we don't, but in many ways it doesn't matter because the fact is that they just keep coming.

I have two books I really should be revising, one of them with a higher priority than the other. But I have yet to do so. I procrastinate, telling myself, "Oh, I don't have time" when I know that's a load of bull. I have the time. I just don't want to do it. I hate revising. I hate going through and fixing things. I think it's because I hate making mistakes. I hate seeing my screw-ups pointed out and all the places where people tell me I've got it wrong. I do appreciate the effort taken by my partners to look at my manuscript, to go through and edit it in order to help me become a better writer. I just hate having to revise my stuff once they're done.

So here I am, one book just a day or two of time shy of moving into query letter process, and I'm already considering new ideas. 1.) I shouldn't because I still have a book on hold (though admittedly, it's pissing me off). 2.) I can't help it because as many of you know, once an idea gets into your brain, muses like to prod and poke you about it until you get it down on paper or work it out or something.

I guess I shouldn't have gone to see Alice in Wonderland. But I did, and I loved it, and I loved the Hatter (who didn't?). And, all thanks to that movie and a great deal to the Hatter, I now have another idea niggling at the back of my mind. I've scribbled down some of it, but it's one of those ideas that wants to get bigger and bigger.

So I guess the real danger of being a writer is having too many ideas at once, or several books jostling for attention. Kind of a strange problem to have - even harder to imagine for non-writers - but still a problem nonetheless. In the end I'll just have to deal with it and roll the idea around in my head while forcing myself to make time for my other books.

I really wish pensieves were real...

Will you, won't you?


Amalia T. said...

When it comes to revising, this is what I do the first time through: Rewrite it from scratch in a new document, looking as little at the old one as possible (if you have an outline, you can avoid looking at the old one at all!). This way, you don't have to see your mistakes, you don't have to look at the scenes that don't work. You don't have to agonize over cutting words that you happened to be fond of. You just start again. And it's WRITING.

I promise you the second time it will be better. The stuff you don't need will fall away, and you'll feel a greater freedom to do things differently, because it FEELS like a new book more than a round of editing. It keeps me from getting caught up on the words on the page, and focused on the STORY that wants to be told.

For the record-- I have five and a half books written, only one of which is query-able, though two have been rewritten. I'm in the process of rewriting my third. :) So I know exactly how you feel with not making time to revise. I just keep writing books until someone stops me and forces me to go back and revise/rewrite.

Emmaserene said...

You are an idea person, like I am. I have 50 books in me, at least. You hate the pesky day-to-day business of re-writing. Douglas Adams once said, "I hate writing, but I love having written" (or something like that.

I'm finding that revising is easier when I have a direction to move in (i.e. beta notes). Someday when we're published, editors slash royalty checks will motivate us. But for now, we have to move towards . . . getting a manuscript marketable.

I SO feel your pain. I just spent one entire day doing NOTHING (zero zip zilch) when I should have been revising. I know there are support groups out there . . . care to join?