Saturday, June 5, 2010

Clean it up!



Ahhhhh...


I love a freshly scrubbed home, a sparkling car, and an empty hamper. Unfortunately, my “Men Who Stare at Goats” look will not erase the work. Believe me, I’ve tried. My only solution? To steal a line from Nike, I “Just do it!”


It’s the same with a first draft. We have permission to write an awful first draft, one that deserves to be scraped from the bottom of our shoe. We can clean it up in revision, and feel proud of our smooth and shiny manuscript.


Once our polished beauties are ready to leave their hard-drive home and test the real world, we’d be wise to avoid errors that make us look silly. Jenny Bent blogged about rookie mistakes here.


Do you have trouble with organization? On Write it Sideways, Suzannah posted “6 Organization Tips for Disorganized Writers.”


How do you feel about first drafts and revision? Do you have a love/hate relationship? Love/love? Like/like?


And I’m curious, how long does your hamper stay empty? (btw, mine is bottomless, like Mary Poppins’ bag)



32 comments:

  1. I've been looking around my house and shuddering at the mess. But you know, I've found that the more organized my WIP gets, the more disorganized my house becomes (probably because I neglect it more). I guess I only have the energy and brain power to work on one mess at a time. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anna, I can totally relate! While my fingers are typing, sometimes the dirty laundry grows by the minute.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the revisions over the first draft. In a revision, the story is more put together, and it's a matter of building, structuring, decorating. The framework is done and I can get into the finer details!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Joanne, I love the way you put it, revision is like redecorating!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahh what a wonderful feeling to have a clean house. Don't you wish it lasted longer??

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a love/hate relationship with revisions. I love that my story gets tighter, and the 'redecorating' (thanks for that phrase Joanne) gets done. But I hate cutting lines/scenes, even though I know it has to be done. It's a mess when doing it but it always looks better after. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I find it really hard to let go and just write my first draft-- I tend to edit as I go and I need to break that habit! AAAgh.
    As to my hanper--what's the bottom look like??

    ReplyDelete
  8. Like the first draft, but I'm not keen on revision! I become a little lazy. I think I start off with great enthusiasm, which starts to lag after the first few drafts!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loathe first drafts, but love revision. I'm like Terri who said she edits as she writes. I see no reason to break the habit, for it makes revision a bit easier. Unlike Lindsay, I love cutting words, phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs to tighten the manuscript.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Karen, yes, I wish the clean house lasted longer! Talk about a wip!

    Lindsay, I know what you mean. If it's a boring scene or line, no problem. But if I think it's good? That's tough!

    Terri, I have the habit of editing as I go also. Even with that, my first drafts are ugly!

    Olive, I guess it's normal for our enthusiasm fades after the 100th time we read our own story!

    Chris, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Revision does give us a chance to polish and make it awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  11. You always find the best blog post links!

    Having just been through my editorial process with my YA debut, it's harder for me to write my WIP freely now, without wanting to revise as I go along. My editor's notes are always in the back of my mind now. Which in some ways will make editing easier in the end, but in other ways, it sort of cripples the creative process. I'm hoping to get in my groove and just WRITE without worrying about revision soon. Fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am in the middle of pounding out a first draft right now and I'm both loving and hating it. I'm excited to get the skeleton done so I can go back and revise and enrich it.

    I hope the bottom of your hamper appears at some point!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have just started writing my first draft. It is killing me because I want every sentence to add up to a perfect paragraph and paragraphs into a perfect chapter! It is my first attempt at a book. I am feeling a little hopeless but know that if I keep giving my time it will turn into something. I am a terrible organizer.
    I can't even begin to tell you how much your links are helping me right now. Thank you for the awesome links!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nothing is better than a freshly scrubbed house! It definitely makes for a happy mama!

    My hamper stays empty for 1/2 a day. :(

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just finished a first draft of my latest WIP. Now I'm editing and cleaning it all up!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amy, I'm sure your current wip is great, and will make it's way to shelves along side Lipstick!

    Suzanne, I wish you luck on that first draft. Comparing it to a skeleton is so clever and true!

    Alexis, it is hard to let go of perfection during a first draft. I think we all struggle with that! Good luck, you can do it!

    Heather, I love a freshly scrubbed house. It puts me in such a good mood. It's not so scrubbed right now, and that's bugging me!

    Jody, I can't wait until we can all learn about your wip!

    ReplyDelete
  17. SO TRUE. fabulous post, julie! sometimes we just have to dive in and clean it up :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. Tahereh, even though it's ugly, there's no other way! A good feeling when it's done, though. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My hamper is bottomless too! First drafts for me are like sweating blood. Revisions I like much more.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jennifer, we have the same hamper situation! Can't wait for your book to come out...all your 'sweating blood' will be worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I revise as I go, and then again when I finish. I have a tough time moving on to the next scene unless the prior scene is 70% acceptable.

    It nags me. I see writing a lot like woodworking. You can sand and polish and trim the piece, but if it's junk to begin with, you're going to have to rebuild it from scratch, because no amount of touching up is going to fix it.

    So I prefer to get it (mostly) right the first time.

    At least, that's the idear...

    - Eric

    ReplyDelete
  22. Disorganized writer...That's me!! And my hamper has probably only been empty for 2 hours at best....unless my kids forget to fill it and just leave their clothes on the floor...that happens quite frequently ;P

    ReplyDelete
  23. Eric, I like what you say about comparing writing to woodworking. If it's junk to begin with, I see your point. I think your idear is a good one!

    Slushie, you and I are living in the same hamper-nightmare. Plus, clothes on the floor...ugh!

    ReplyDelete
  24. JULIE! Laundry and revisions...these are my two, least favorite things in the world! Especially if there is a major problem with dates or times in my story. This is why I have 4 betas! They keep me straight so I can actually wash & dry three loads of laundry each day.:)

    Hope you find a minute to check out my latest post. Bring your Kleenex box, too! (It's not that bad, I promise!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tory, your blog post was beautiful. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    Yes, dates are tricky, aren't they? And times of day. Was it day? Night? What?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have to admit that I like the editing process more than the first draft writing. In fact, I can't wait to finish the first draft so I can dig in to making the piece brighter and more alive. But then I write short pieces and not novels so everything can move along rather quickly :-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lisa, I like the process of cleaning up a short piece much more than a novel! After writing my first, I sure do have a new respect for novelists!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Julie, you know me! I LOVE that first draft when I get so wrapped up in the story and the characters and can't stop thinking about what's going to happen next!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I hate laundry and dishes...they're never done! Luckily, I have a husband who makes a MUCH better housewife than I do. Would you believe in the almost 19 years we've been together, I've only cleaned the bathroom two or three times? I think he actually enjoys it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I can always tell when something isn't working in a draft, because that's when I feel motivated to do the laundry! So, I consider dirty clothes a good sign.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lisa, I DO know you, and the novel writing machine that you are! Amazing.

    Vicki, um, can you clone that man and sell him for Father's Day?

    India, I love your laundry meter. Dirty clothes = great wip!

    ReplyDelete