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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Weak Link - IWSG July 2015






The last few months have been mush, but sometime, back in May…April? I attended a writing workshop led by novelist Randy SusanMeyers.  I learned or relearned lots of valuable information during that session, but here’s the most important thing I took away. 

Spend at least a little time with your manuscript daily.

That hit me soundly because, for the last few months, I’ve been visiting my manuscript intermittently.  I forgive myself, because there was a significant distraction, but as I try to get back into a regular rhythm, the bond is not there.  It’s a first draft. I still have about fifty-thousand words to go, and the only way I could connect myself to the story again was to reread what I’d written so far.  That’s a dangerous practice. One I don’t recommend. Rereading before finishing is a great way to get bogged down in the crud of a first draft.    Another stellar teacher, Lynne Griffin taught me this.

The only thing you have to do with a first draft is finish it.

But, this time I made an exception.  I’d forgotten so much about my story I had to. By not focusing on it, I’ve…lost focus.  So this past week, I opened it up and read it with no editing.  Next, I’ll try to hold myself accountable to visiting it every day.

Fingers crossed.  Perhaps in late fall, I’ll write another IWSG post and announce this.

Draft complete.

What do you do to stay connected to your story?

15 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If you work on it a little bit each day, you will be able to announce that!

mshatch said...

That's what I try to do, spend some time every day with my story. Eventually, it will be done.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I can see having to re-read the draft to get back into the story - I've done that myself. If for some reason I don't physically sit with my ms/stories that day, I pretty much always do it mentally. :)

Jan Morrison said...

This hits home to me. I've been on a trip to our home in Nova Scotia for nearly three weeks. I haven't been able to spend huge amounts of time with my ms but I have stayed in touch with it for exactly the reason you say. I'm in my 'close to finished' revision. I won't say last because I know I have at least a polish left. I had just gotten my edits back from the fella who is helping me with it so took it on the road with me. Staying in touch is important. I do reread all the time - I write so crazily I have to but it doesn't much get in my way. Keep on keepin' on, my girl!

cleemckenzie said...

Finishing that draft is uber important.

Joanne said...

I'll be coming out with a new book after leaving it for over a year. I hated it, thought it was stupid, etc. Then a writer friend asked about it - said how much they'd enjoyed hearing my readings and thought it was funny. Well, when I relooked at it, I chuckled and decided I liked it again. It's going to work for you by fall. You are emerging from such a difficult time, it's okay. Take your time.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've done that, reread and then restarted. It worked for me so hopefully it will work for you.
Susan Says

emaginette said...

I like to put my book on my reader that way I can't start change anything. No doubt you'll get your focus back. Here's my link if you'd like to drop by :-)

Anna from Elements of Writing

Jenni Enzor said...

I really like this "spending a little time with your manuscript a day" thing. I've been trying to do that, since my time, especially during the school year, is so limited.
And you're so right about not rereading a first draft. I don't know how many times I've made that mistake. Perhaps that's why a certain project I'm working on is not finished as well.

M Pax said...

I fell off the writing wagon for a bit this year, too. It was unavoidable. We do what we can, and that's OK. You'll find your focus again. I do it with small bites - small goals. It helps to break it up. The project is less overwhemling that way.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'll have to disagree with you on the re-reading thing.

Re-reading a manuscript from the beginning, revising and editing as i go, is one of the ways I re-connect with a manuscript I've lost touch with. Sometimes I *can't* get to the end because I know the story is walking a path that's askew somehow.

I can think of 2 times when re-reading from the beginning lit the fire under me to finish the story. (In once case, I had to start over TWICE. On the third re-reading, I suddenly realized the protagonist needed a younger brother who was on a path of self-destruction in order for the whole story to make sense. Only when I wrote the brother in was I able to finish the manuscript.)

Feather Stone said...

Actually, I find doing a little reread of the preceding work helps me settle into the scene and characters, especially if I have been away from the writing for a few days. Sometimes I just do a little corrections of typos and grammar, shift a few lines around - nothing major. But then, we all work in our own creative style. Blessings

Robin said...

I sometimes will read the chapter previous to the one I'm working on just to get back into the groove. But, it's always hard to do and not get bogged down in editing. So, go you for just reading and moving on.

Loni Townsend said...

Best of luck with your draft! I find life tends to get in the way though my story is always on my mind. I just wish I had the time to write it down. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I think you will be able to write that post. Take care and good luck!