Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hey, writer! Cross that finish line! #IWSG



Welcome to the October installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. *gasp* It's October already! If you want to be a part of this amazing group (inspired by the ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh) click here.

I'm big into podcasts now (I blogged about podcasts for authors here). I recently listened to Joanna Penn's interview with Orna Ross. Lots of good info packed into the interview, but one thing stood out to me: "Finish, even if it's not good."

You see, I'm deep in a tough revision right now. Like, a gut-the-opening and drop-useless-characters kind of revision. There have been days when I've opened the manuscript, revised one page, and then closed the laptop. It's overwhelming. My next step is to use Janice Hardy's tip to create an editorial map.

Orna Ross's advice reminded me that I just need to cross a finish line, even if the finish line is small. Finished one chapter? That's a finish line. Erased one whole character from the manuscript? That's a finish line. Even if those chapters aren't good, the simple act of finishing something is positive. It's one step closer to the ultimate finish line...creating a wonderful story.

I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. But should we ignore something just because it's hard? No. As Susan Kaye Quinn said on her blog, "It will always be hard."

Are you with me, fellow writers? Let's finish, even if it's bad. We can go back and make it good.

Have you ever been mired in a tough revision? Were you tempted to close the manuscript and not finish? Are you ever intimidated by the amount of work that needs to be done?


25 comments:

  1. I celebrate every step now because I never thought I'd get this far!
    And I managed to finish my last manuscript's revisions right before I didn't like it anymore.

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    1. Ha! "...didn't like it anymore." That's so funny. And soooo true. Glad you got those revisions done in the nick of time :)

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  2. I totally have to celebrate the small steps being mired in revisions myself right now. And I agree with "Finish it even even if it isn't good." Because I can always make it better.

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    1. Yay for you, Marcy! Yep, mine right now is terrible. But I feel less pressure because I know it can be made better.

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  3. You're right. You have to do this in baby steps. Fortunately, I have an almost childlike ability to forget about all the other problems that are plaguing my manuscript while I'm focusing on one of them. Just keep plugging away.

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    1. Ken, that's such a great quality! I'm sure that that ability to focus helps you a lot through revisions.

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  4. Well said, Julie. I'm currently at a crossroad, and this information has definitely helped push me to one side. Not to finish that next novel - which I'm just about to begin - but to finish or continue on my path of publication.

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    1. Sheri, that is a really tough decision. But you're a thoughtful, smart person. You'll make the right decision for YOU. Good luck...and I'm always here if you need a sounding board <3

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  5. Yup, crossing the finishing line is important. We can always go back and revise again and again and again. I lost count of how many revisions I did on my mss.

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  6. That's a good mindset to have. I'm having such a hard time getting back into editing after being in a rut, I really just need to take it one step, maybe even one word, at a time.

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  7. Yes, just cross that finish line! I recently heard (or read) a quote that fits well with your post: Books aren't written, they're rewritten. It's in those revisions that the REAL story comes out.

    And yes, I have felt like I don't want to do the revisions. They sometimes seem too overwhelming, and I would rather create a new story! Happens all too often... *sigh*

    Good luck with your revisions!! You can do it!

    http://swordsandstilettos.blogspot.com

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  8. I'll be diving into my first novel's first draft soon and yes, the cuts will be deep. But it's time. Ready or not, I will cross the finish line with this project.

    And I've heard there are some great writing podcasts out there. I'll start to investigate them soon.

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  9. Yes. Yes. and Yes!! I'm in the process of my final edit right now. And deleting useless stuff, and hoping, in the end, it'll work out!!

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  10. Revising used to be a much-dreaded chore for me, but I've started to like it more in the past few years. Polishing things up, getting rid of things that don't work, cleaning up the prose--it's all kind of satisfying. Still, sometimes it hurts to get rid of things, and sometimes the process seems tedious and it really sucks. But it's necessary, so onward we must push, axes in hand!

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  11. That's a good way to look at it. Every small step is an accomplishment.

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  12. Ah! the edits. I am in the editing process of my WIP and love your advice about setting small goals. My process, to divide the task into bite-sized pieces, is to edit one scene at a time. If my energy level is still high, and my nerves are shot, I will tackle another scene ... This works for me!

    Best of success in your writing career, Julie, and thank you for sharing your ideas today.

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  13. I like noting down the incremental steps in my process...it makes me feel like (and reminds me) that I've accomplished each of the previous steps and if I feel overwhelmed, I can do this next step, too.

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  14. Every change is a finish line. An accomplishment. We just have to take little bites at a time.

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  15. I feel you! I'm in the midst of a revision that is turning my story on its head. I'm killing so many darlings I'll have the FBI on my doorstep any minute.

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  16. I am right there this minute. Rewriting the first four or five chapters of my current WIP.

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  17. I'm so much better at facing those tough (evil!) revisions now! They used to terrify me, now I've worked up to being slightly annoyed instead :)

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  18. It's always odd when I stumble across a blog post that was exactly what I needed to hear. Working on revisions right now and I'm at the stage where I think my brain is bleeding. Thanks for the post.

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  19. I'm with you. I just pulled out a dusty ms that I wrote waaaay back when. Talk about shock! How did I even think this thing could be a book? But. . .it does have its moments, so I'm going in and finish it properly.

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  20. I feel this way about every book I have written. There are moments when I know there's no way it will come together.

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  21. Small finish lines add up. I'm a check list person. I make lots of small daily goals, then I can cross things off and feel like I've made some progress.

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