Back Into Creation Mode

The past first months, with a few brief exceptions, I’ve been in revision mode, and I haven’t made much forward progress on my current fantasy project. I worked on it fairly steadily at the beginning of the year, then I got sidetracked by the co-author competition. I got some more work done, then May hit. May was a bad month for me; I was sick and/or depressed for pretty much the entire thing. June was taken up with editing Origins. I got back into my fantasy for July while Origins was out to beta readers, then spent August revising Origins yet again.

Now I’m back, once again, into my fantasy project. But I’ve still been revising. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to revise a first draft on the first run-through, but I have good reasons. First off, I’ve learned quite a bit in the last few months through both my revising efforts and working with my critique partner. I knew the 7 chapters I have done could use some work, and I wanted to tighten up the story before moving forward. Second, I haven’t spent much time in this project lately, and while I haven’t forgotten what happens, it wasn’t exactly fresh in my mind. Reading and altering my existing chapters would put me in the right mindset to begin to add new content.

I never realized before that writing new stuff and revising old stuff required different mindsets. Writing new stuff is easier for me. Revising is tougher, because at the time, I believed whatever words I used were the right ones to say what I wanted to say. Confused? I tend to write well on a first draft. Not perfect by any means, but decently well. It’s hard for me to identify places that need changes, because I obviously thought I did it right the first time. Then, once I’ve found the errors, I struggle to fit new words into the existing story.

My critique partner has been a big help. He’s been reading through my chapters as I get them done and offering the commentary I so desperately need. He points out places of confusion, questions I’ve left unanswered, or passages that need clarification. He told me when he didn’t like my protagonist very much and when my character development needed more depth. It’s his recommendations I’ve kept in mind while doing my read-through.

But, tonight my revision will be done. After I finish this post I’ll pull up Chapter 7 and give it the attention it needs, then I’ll be free to start moving my story forward. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed writing new content, and exploring my characters, and the sense of productivity I feel as the chapters begin to add up. Revision is important, it just doesn’t hold the same sense of accomplishment for me.

I’ve also set myself new goals. I won’t allow any time-sucking distractions (my distractions this summer were valuable, but time-sucking all the same). I won’t let multiple days go by where no work gets done. If I put the time in, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to finish two chapters a week. And, most important, my deadline: I want to have my draft finished by the end of the year. This is a big step for me, because I’ve never set myself a deadline like this before. Hopefully it’ll motivate me to keep putting the work in when I feel like taking a break. Telling all of you is my accountability. I can’t imagine admitting to you that I missed my deadline.

So, back into creation mode I go. Wish me luck, and keep checking in for new stuff. Also, as always, remember to leave comments and sign up for an email subscription.

2 Replies to “Back Into Creation Mode”

  1. In my humble opinion, the road to anywhere is chalk full of difficulties, distractions, and setbacks. That’s what makes them worth it. If we won the lottery every day, what would motivate us to get out of bed?

    It sounds as though, while sometimes frustrating and emotionally exhausting, you’ve had a pretty steep learning curve the last few months. You seem like you know your strengths and weaknesses. You put something out there (which most won’t even try). Giving up won’t move you forward, and I’m happy to hear you’re doing the entire opposite by pushing yourself harder. You started a blog + set a deadline.

    Ok, you got the first steps out of the way. Step two: write. Step three: profit ;)!

    1. Thanks! Yes, definitely a steep learning curve. And a painful and exhausting and terrifying one. It’s the old proverb, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I feel stronger. I think I’ve pinpointed a few major problems in my first manuscript, and I’m working to not repeat them in the current one.

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