Friday, January 2, 2015

What's the opposite of procrastination?

On Monday the 29th of December, I ordered a large corkboard and a pack of multicolored index cards. It’d been about a month since NaNoWriMo and I was itching to start revising my story. Of course, I didn’t really know where to start and I was super nervous. I’ve never revised anything before—in fact, I’ve rarely finished anything before. The sum total of my experience with revision is advice on NaNo boards and the show Stark Raving Mad, which had a gag in its first episode about multicolored index cards and a corkboard just to show how anal the editor was... so I figured that was probably a good place to start.

So I hemmed and hawed and discussed it with Branden (my inspiration and my support) and I wondered what I was going to write on my index cards, and once stuff was written on them, how I would stick them to the board. It was quite literally like owning paper and pencils and a ruler, but no textbooks. I was understandably confused and more than a little scared.

As part of my preparation I decided to reread some of my favorite books within my genre. As I progress (present tense!) through Darkness, Take My Hand, I can plainly see some places where I went very, very wrong. It is humbling but enlightening, and the things I believe I’ve learned through reading the book are extremely exciting to think about implementing. Of course, trying to do so will probably end up looking like a kid trying to fence based on watching a video of fencing... but I will give it my best effort, and practice will eventually make perfect. One hopes.

My goods were supposed to arrive on December 31st, fresh and waiting for me to begin work the next day—but they didn’t arrive. I was full of woe! How would I start revising if my revision materials weren’t here yet? I didn’t want to start anything on the computer, because it would lock me into a certain way of thinking and that way surely lies madness. As usual, I was allowing my black-and-white evaluations of things to block the creative process. Of course, it wasn’t even New Year’s Day yet, so my anxiety was premature.

New Year’s Day came and I discovered I was in no shape to begin revision anyway. I hadn’t had anything to drink the night before but I did stay up till after 3am, and woke up much too early. I was a zombie with a head full of sand, and was actually mostly relieved that my materials hadn’t arrived. Branden and I mercifully spent much of the day watching Supernatural with our friends, allowing someone else’s creativity wash over and inspire us.

Last night, as I settled into bed, I continued reading my book. I read late into the night, hoping that reading before bed would help me sleep better (as I’ve been getting extremely poor sleep of late), but woe, it was not to be. When I finally forced myself to put down the book, my brain was afire with tightly furled buds of ideas, and I couldn’t help myself but try to force them to bloom.

And bloom they did.

Sometime after 3am, I finally fell asleep, but every time Branden or I shifted in bed, or a cat stepped near me, or a fly sneezed somewhere in the house, I woke up again and my buzzing brain picked back up where it had left off, seemingly moments before.

In this fashion, I slept until about 7:15.

So I am here before you now with less than four hours of sleep, eagerly awaiting my corkboard and index cards, and I literally can’t wait to start. When I’m finished with my second draft, it will bear only a passing resemblance to my first, and I think that’s both amazing and wonderful, and slightly embarrassing.

Anyway, here is a line I thought up last night. In hopes to get you hooked:

A dog, fitted with electrodes behind his ears and a talk collar around his neck, shouted “hi” at me halfheartedly as I walked by.

“Hi,” I replied automatically, and immediately felt embarrassed and impotently resentful, as if I’d accidentally waved back at a pickle-costumed human advertisement.

Feels a bit tortured. Any suggestions for making it more streamlined?

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