This time last week, I claimed that I would be logging into Scrivener the very next day to begin applying the editing notes I’ve scribbled all over my printed manuscript. There is a problem with setting targets for tomorrow though, and that is of course that tomorrow never comes.
I’m not entirely sure what went wrong really.
I found another great book, How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein, which really made me think about the extent to which I’ve been writing for my reader rather than just myself. In fact every couple of pages I came across another nugget of wisdom that I felt would enhance my next draft – so much so that I didn’t want to go back to my manuscript until I’d finished it.
I’ve done lots of blogging though. Possibly a bit too much. It’s amazing how the inspiration for blog posts just seems to flow when there’s something else you should be doing.
And then there’s hanging out with Arthur, keeping the house looking vaguely presentable, suddenly getting incredibly paranoid about the mummy tummy that I’m still carrying around with me nearly two years down the line…
You get the picture.
So today, before writing this post, I made sure I actually logged on to Scrivener, opened the first draft of my novel in both its electronic and printed form, and began the process of adding and subtracting and changing words around. And do you know what, it wasn’t so bad.
I think I’ve built it up in my mind so much over the last few weeks that it felt like an almost insurmountable task. I had thought of so many things that needed tweaking that I couldn’t see how I was even going to hold them in my head let alone put them into practice. But then that’s what the post-it notes are for isn’t it?
There’s another book I’ve picked up – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – which I’m going to try to resist reading for the time being. It gets its title though from something the author’s father said to her then ten year old brother who was agonising over a project on birds that he had to complete. The sage advice which I plan to hold on to over the next few weeks was “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
I still have some more specific research to do, but I’m not going to let that stop me working through my manuscript. I actually enjoyed it this morning, way more than I thought I would – now that I have a pretty clear idea of what I’m trying to do it’s pretty satisfying playing around with the words until it starts to fall into place.
I’m going to set myself a loose goal of a chapter a day. I know some days will be better than others, and different chapters need different amounts of work. But I need some sort of target to keep me working, and it’s most definitely time to get this edit properly underway.
And this time, I mean it.