Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finally Discovered--the Worst Part of Writing

I've seen a lot of great posts and discussions around web world lately about the process of writing, the various stages, and which parts people like--and don't like. There are those who love drafting but editing makes them want to commit hari-kari with a paper clip. Some find drafting akin to pushing a VW bus through the eye of a needle but hit their stride when it comes to revision. For some, the brainstorming is the best; others say brainstorming is the bane of their writing existance.

And to each of these discussions, I added the overly cheerful, pert answer that I liked all the stages of writing. I love ideas, I love the first draft, I love revising, I love combing the manuscript with a purple pen and transcribing the changes. Love it all. Merrily I tripped on through more revisions and edits and created a nice, crisp manuscript. I was a happy prancing elf the whole way through.

And then.

I forgot about one, single, critical, terrible part of the process. Sitting. The part where you send your MS off to beta readers, and shove it in a (mental or physical) drawer, and promise yourself not to fiddle with it or even look at it until you've gained perspective.

I hate sitting. I'm itching to open my document, read it again, play with a few things, decide if it's ready. But the thing is--I'm not ready. I don't have enough distance yet to really appreciate or criticize it. It needs time to ferment, for the ideas to bubble up.

I can't wait for this stage to be over...but at least I found my least favorite part of writing. And thank goodness it's a pretty small part.

What about you--favorite and least favorite parts of writing? Does anyone--gasp!--actually enjoy the sitting-on-it part of the process?


Nicole MacDonald said...

mine is still in the hands of ... umm let me see... one, two - no and her too

umm still in the hands of five beta readers *grin* and I'm working on it again so chances are I'll have fixed everything by the time I get it back ;p

Connie said...

Any aspect of waiting (from betas to queries to fulls to R&Rs) is really tough.

I stay busy by sewing and gardening and reorganizing any/everything in the house--burning off nervous energy. :-)

Sharmon said...

Good one, Rowenna! Funny. No, I hate waiting and I'm sure the more I have to do, the more I'll hate it. But I definitely am okay w/ leaving stuff alone to cool--almost always. It may be hard for, like, ten minutes, and then I've got my mind on ten other things and before I realize it, it's been days or weeks and I can happily dig it out w/ fresh perspective. I think hyper people have more of a problem w/ this. I just wrote a short a few weeks ago and was salivating to edit--I thought I'd go nuts, but I had to stay focused on the novel edit, so...and it's been weeks and I just thought of it. But no time to edit now--I want to be like you and like all stages of writing.

Lua said...

I haven’t reached to the “sitting” part yet but when I do- I’m pretty sure I’ll hate it :)
I’m also a loyal member of “editing makes me want to commit hari-kari with a paper clip” club…

Rowenna said...

Nicole--glad to see you've gotten one back already :)

Connie--I know, I think querying was nail-biting worse, but I was working on another project, so could distract myself.

Sharmon--I'm usually not hyper, but this is killing me! :)

Lua--I think I need more projects to distract me--line up a few before you hit sitting!

mesmered said...

With your interest in things thready and silky, you should have project lists a mile long.

But they say you should always have another WIP on the boil. The thing I find hard about that is you can get right into the new WIP and then the old WIP comes back with suggested edits etc and you want to jump in and fix it and so you leave current WIP behind and don't get back to it for ages and then you lose the flow. Hard and frustrating.

Rowenna said...

mesmered--so true, they say to have another WIP on the burner...but I have to be very strict with myself or I'd have five WIPs going and never finish anything! My rule is that when I get to the query stage I get to start something new--and then I have something to really distract me when I need it most :)

Miss Rosemary said...

THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST!!!!! Thank you for finally saying it.