The slow process of revising

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Not a stack of my manuscripts, but it pretty well could be…

I always thought I could be one of those writers who could breeze through revisions. I read so many stories about how Hemingway could revise quickly, that all good writers can do so. But so far I am struggling with the whole revise 20 pages in 2-3 days jazz that so many other writers seem to be able to do at the drop of a hat. Maybe they are better at sticking to deadlines. Maybe they are exaggerating. Maybe I am too easily distracted.

I think the biggest problem is that I try to revise when I come home from work, when I’ve already spent an entire day writing and revising copy, and my brain refuses to cooperate. I’ve tried revising in the morning and I can usually manage 1-2 pages per day if I stay focused. Did I also mention that the old MFA student in me will spend way too much time wondering if the sentence I wrote is perfect? Yes, every now and then the twenty-something version of me pops up and asks me if that is really the best sentence I could write. And she’s a pain in the ass. She shakes her head at everything. I have to banish her to the back of my mind, otherwise she makes me doubt everything.

But I have a plan and I need to stick to it. I want to finally publish Snowbound this year. I want to publish it by mid-September. I also want to publish Maybe Baby this year and a novella  that is a prequel to Maybe Baby. And then there’s A Little Night Music, a novel I shelved a few years ago and then began working on again. It too needs to see the light of day.

My Matera Brainstormers came up with the idea of checking in with one another on the 15th of every month. We need to report progress, which is good. I like when someone else is keeping track of me. I need a coach who prods and encourages me. It’s good I have my writing buddy Kim K. We meet once a week, talk shop and write.

But I have the feeling that 2013 is the year when I will manage to get at least 2 novels out. And I hope all of you who read my blog will poke me every now and then and say, “Yo, Kim. Finish the revisions now!” 🙂

Time to sign up for Nanowrimo

If you’re like me then you’ve been waiting patiently to sign up for Nanowrimo 2011. That day has finally come. This morning I signed up for this year’s month of novel-writing madness. Hopefully, this year work won’t prevent me from reaching my goal.

Whenever I mention to anyone that I am in the midst of Nanowrimo, their response is usually either “why?” or “what is it?” So for the uninitiated, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel-writing Month–it’s a misnomer these days now that it’s spread across the globe but that’s another story. The goal of Nanowrimo is to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. You start on November 1 and you must finish on the last day of the motnh. You don’t win any money if you manage to finish Nanowrimo. You don’t even get any shiny prizes. What you get is the camaraderie of thousands of other people around the world (and you can get to know them on the Nanowrimo forum) who are all doing the same thing. You can even attend Nanowrimo get-togethers where you meet people from your region who are all aspiring writers and who use Nanowrimo as a necessary kick-in-the-butt to get them writing everyday or to help them start and finish a first draft. Some of those people are unpublished, others have a few published books under their belt. It’s one giant writing community and it welcomes everyone.

Now if you don’t finish on time, there’s no shame. I finished my first Nanowrimo novel a day late. Why? Because of work. My other Nanowrimo novels were finished well after the 30 November deadline. Sometimes it was work that kept me; other times it was traveling home for Thanksgiving that knocked me off course. One thing is certain: I need Nanowrimo to keep me focused. I am a fits-and-spurts writer who needs deadlines and Nanowrimo gives me the ultimate deadline. In order to stay on target, I need to write 1667 words a day. Sometimes I write more. Other days I fall behind. But I always try to get to 1667.

So if you don’t hear from me during the month of November or if I don’t answer my phone, you know I haven’t vanished into thin air. I will be in front of my computer, working on my Nanowrimo 2011 novel, which will have the working title Snowbound.