Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anita's Attic: Putting Some Sanity Back Into My Life

Sometimes writing feels like living inside a tornado, from just getting the story down--which isn't an easy thing, or fast, if you write slow like I do--to editing, keeping up with promotion, loops, blogging, and what about family? We can't forget them, those people we love, who support us while we embrace this insanity. And if you're not organized, as I'm not, it's even worse.

I find myself at a place where I have to figure out a new method to my madness. I could win an award for Worst Time Manager of the decade. I'm sure I'm dawdling away time that I can't afford to waste. Especially now. One thing I've been thinking about is how long it takes me to write a book. I'm not really sure how long that is since I only have two that are completely finished, and each one was a unique situation. But I read something yesterday that encouraged me.

Several days ago I was on Margie Lawson's Pubbed Grad Blog, so I've been checking in with some of her other grad blogs. Yesterday, she had Julie Rowe. Margie showed some examples of Julie's writing, which were great, but what really excited me was Julie's response to my question about her editing process. Like most of the industry suggests, Julie does her editing after the rough draft is finished, something I find difficult. I always edit as I go. It's not the final edit, but if I see something wrong with the manuscript or know I'm going to make a change, I can't leave it until later. Julie said she used to do this, and found that it took her about 18 months to get the first book down. Now she gets the rough draft down without edits, then makes several editing passes. Combined with using the BIAW (Book In A Week) method she can now write a book and have it ready for publication in three months.

Okay, I might not be that fast, but I'm encouraged. Maybe there's hope for me. I'm going to give it a try, and I'm going to investigate BIAW. Thanks to Margie Lawson's Pubbed Grad Blog and Julie, I hope to put some sanity back into one part of my life. Now, if anyone has suggestions about the other billion things, I'm open to those too.

And in the meantime, I recommend Margie's Pubbed Grad Blog http://www.margielawson.com/margies-writing-blog I've found a lot of inspiration there over the past several days. Great writing examples that make light bulbs go off in my head. It's like a glimpse into a Margie class.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Eeek...I need that method since I have a book due in 3 months...gulp! I haven't even started it. sigh....story of my life.

Cassy Pickard said...

Well said, Anita. I tend to edit as I go along and it certainly takes more time. Plus, I sometimes add stuff that's already covered two chapters later. ERR. Good post!

Anita Clenney said...

Kari, okay I don't feel so bad now. Just kidding. :) I'm always behind and I'm tired of it.

Anita Clenney said...

Cassy, one of the reasons I edit as I go is that I can get really tangled up in edits, so if something occurs to me, I figure I'm better off fixing it now. But I think overall I'm hurting myself.

Kerri Carpenter said...

I think in general you just have to try some different methods and find what works best for you. Maybe you'll discover a mix of editing as you go and waiting until the end.

Although, since I'm currently reading "Awaken the Highland Warrior" I can't imagine you have any trouble writing. It's a wonderful story!

Julie Rowe said...

Hi Anita, I'm so glad my answer has encouraged you to try something new. Kerri is absolutely right when she said to try different methods until you find something that works for you.

We all have our own process. The trick is figuring out what that process is. Something else you can try to get past the edit-as-you-go habit is to set a timer for 15 mins and write as fast as you can. No editing, just write. Anything at all. If you're stuck at a particular scene, skip to the next one and go from there. You can always go back later and finish/fix that troublesome area, what you can't fix is a blank page.

Cheers, Julie

Lindsay said...

You are right in that we need to find what works best for each of us. I used to think the more words I wrote the better but after spending more time of the first round of edits, I slowed and go more for quality. Now the edits aren't as bad even when I get them back from my editor.
I don't know if I could do BIAW but just might have to look into it.
Yes, Kari you'd better get writing.

Liz Lipperman said...

Anita, like you, I edit as I go. I can't do it any other way. I get lost. I wrote 100 pages, then took time off to promote LLD, but I whined the whole time that I was stuck. I figured out why.

I needed more info in those first 100 pages --more exposition. So, I printed it out and deep edited it, adding 10 more pages. and you know what? I was so excited, I wrote another chapter on the plane ride home from Boston last weekend.

So for me, I will stick to what I know is tried and true with me. The good news is that when I finish this manuscript, there will be very little editing needed. So far, with my two other books, I have had very few edits from Berkley, too.

Everybody needs to find out what works for them and stick to it.

And like Kari, my deadline is in less than three months. Yikes!!

Anita Clenney said...

Aw, thanks Kerri. That's so nice. I think different things work for different writers. I'm anxious to give this way a try. IF I can make myself stick to it. I'll probably have to find some hybrid method because I never seem to fit into any box.

Anita Clenney said...

Julie, thanks so much for stopping by. Your post on Margie's Pubbed Grad Blog did inspire me. And writing without editing for an allotted time might be the perfect thing for me. I could at least see on a smaller scale if it's going to work. Great idea. Thanks.

Anita Clenney said...

Lindsay, I think that's what I worry about. I would have to be very careful about spitting out writing that would cause me to work harder later. I'm going to try it, maybe just small increments, a scene or a chapter, or set a timer.

Anita Clenney said...

Liz, I think editing as you go has it's benefits; less editing later, but it's taking me way too long to get a scene down. I think I'm going to have to try something different. I hope this works. Even for this book.

Kudos to you for getting down an entire chapter on the plane. Sorry, I commented on your blog really late, like today-late.:( My car died yesterday, throwing all my plans off. Austin had to replace the starter and some kind of switch.

Debra Key Newhouse said...

With all of the wonderful interventions these days, I still love my index cards. They keep me sane! lol Great article Anita!

Nancy Naigle said...

You're in luck - organization is one of those things that's graded on a curve :)

Don't worry or you'll just work yourself into a tizzy that's worse than that tornado! You'll find your process and I think trying on something new is a great way to tap into new stuff that's been tucked away. Good luck with the no edit process. I hope you'll let us know how that works out for ya!

Now...quit wasting time and get to work on that next awesome book. Can you hear my foot tapping? I'm already ready for the next one.

Hugs and happy writing-revising,

Anita Clenney said...

Debra, sometimes I wonder if anything beats the basics. I have several "methods" (Snowflake, W Plot) but rarely use them.

Anita Clenney said...

Nancy, the organizational queen! :) I wish I had some of your skills. But you're right, if I get too frustrated my tizzy will be worse than the tornado. I'll gently try something new and let you know if it works.