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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good Writing

The tug of war is back in play.  The resting phase of my WIP ended on July 15, an arbitrary date I picked so I’d have a deadline, since I can count on myself to adhere to those.  The next day, I opened the thing up on the computer, saved my most recent draft as Version 4, and then swapped and revised the first two chapters.  Having cut the first 25 pages the last time round, my starting point had improved, but it still didn't feel quite right. It was like a jigsaw puzzle.  On the surface the pieces seemed like a fit, until I looked on the back side and understood I had forced the match. Over the previous six weeks I let the thing percolate in my brain until finally, the brew solidified and I knew what I needed to do.  Now, the cardboard blends seamlessly.

This week, I am printing the draft out, twenty pages at a time.  I see so much more when I am not staring the screen, and this allows me to reread for big picture issues as well as rhythm, flow of language, and typos, which will forever be the bane of my existence.  Next round, I’m sure I’ll find a million more.

In between this, and that four letter word, “work,” I'm trying to move forward on a new story.  Thankfully, I'm scheduled to present pages of this project once a month at my bi-weekly writing group, or I'm not sure it would still be alive.  The topic is deeper and and more difficult than anything I've written to date.  Every word feels like I'm slogging through an overgrown jungle.  In truth, I'm not sure I'll ever get through to the clearing, but each month, when it's my turn, some how I stumble on.
It took much less of a struggle to pick up another magazine article a few weeks back.  This one comes attached to a moral victory. As many of you are aware, I’m not good at selling myself.  My two previous articles in our regional lifestyle magazine (see above, on the right) were handed to me by the editor (about which I’m entirely grateful.)  The idea for this new one simmered on the back burner in my mind since January, until finally I got up the gumption to pitch it via email.  Less than two hours later, the editor offered me the opportunity to write the feature.  Although it won’t be published until 2013, it has an end of season deadline to ensure photographer has time to capture good photos, and I’m working on it now.  

All this is to say, while I’ve been a poor blogger this summer, I’m writing, and moving forward, and hope you are too.

What are you working on this summer?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on the article! Bet that felt good.
I have to print out my work in order to revise. I miss things on the screen.

E.J. Wesley said...

Congrats! I have to do both. I typically do my first "big" round of edits on the computer. Then I print and find a million other things I missed. Then I go back to the computer.

In either case, I couldn't do it all on one or the other. There are certain things I pick up with my fingers resting on a keypad that I'd miss with paper/pencil, and it's true the other way around too.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for taking the plunge and pitching your idea!! RESULT!!!! Congratulations!!!

Good luck with your revisions too!! I much prefer looking at my stories on paper too - I tend to see more of them - if that makes sense!

Take care

Robin said...

There is always serious temptation to throw in the towel. It is hard freaking work. Good on you that you are pushing through it.

jbchicoine said...

Liza, I'm so pleased to hear about all the progress you're making! It's such a challenge to get that objectivity we need as writers, but given enough time, it comes.

And congratulations on landing a feature article. Can't wait to read it.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I, too, see so much more when I'm not staring at a screen. I have to print pages out to really really read what I've written. If you're writing, you're having a successful summer. Congratulations on all the articles and best of luck with the deeper story. Those are the ones I like.

mshatch said...

I'm in practically the same place having just taken my book off the shelf where it's been resting for the last three weeks. I started revising last night though I didn't get very far. I was actually thinking of doing what you did and print some of it out.

I also plan to start reading it out loud, much as I hate the sound of my own voice.

Jan Morrison said...

Good for you for feeling your way through this and sticking to your deadlines. I like to print out too. I must say though that I have to print the whole thing and read it in one go with my red pencil at hand. Then I do revisions on the computer. It has been so much fun to not be doing a revision for the past two months and I have nearly my first draft finished (another week and I'll be there).
And KaZoW on getting your article query picked up - way to go brave woman! So exciting and so good when it is something you've found and someone sees its worth (and your passion).

Anne Gallagher said...

wow, I must have missed a lot while I was moving. Had I known you had put aside the ms. I would have shot you something to read. ah, well, next time.

Congrats on getting your duck in order. Sounds like a great rest of summer for you.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, sounds like you've been super productive. Congrats on that magazine article. I've found that if I send a manuscript to my kindle, it offers me an almost "new eyes" perspective when editing. For some reason, I find little nitpicky errors there that I've overlooked on the computer.

Carol Kilgore said...

Wonderful news about your article! Congrats. I prefer to edit on hard copy. I do every round that way except the next to last when I run things through AutoCrit and check for the words I know I overuse. After that, I read it aloud from hard copy and find more problems.

Wine and Words said...

"I can count on myself for this."

I like this statement about your work ethic and deadlines. It stands so resolute and trustworthy. Congratulations! :)

Gina Gao said...

Congrats! I can't say how happy I am for you.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Hey, that's great! Congrats!!

I just finished a novella and am doing some revisions now. But I'm itching to start something new and different.

Lynda R Young said...

That's wonderful!! Congrats!!
And yes revisions can often feel like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Have fun writing that article!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the article! I, too, have been a very poor blogger this summer. I hope to change that as I begin working on my new project.