Monday, May 4, 2015

And on the sixth month, I rested

Yes, yes, yes, I did it. I finished my second draft, also known as Cassidy1, on April 30 at 9:00pm, having written 5,767 words that day in order to finish. I’m not 100% happy with the end, but so what‽ that’ll be a Third Draft Problem. And now, I put it in a drawer for a month, to be reread and revisited on June 1.

In the meantime, what will I do?

Branden and I made a date yesterday to write with some of the Writers’ Group girls. I forgot, when I made the date, that by the time it happened, I wouldn’t have anything I was working on anymore. I still planned to write something, if only just to develop a few of the ideas I’ve had for other NaNo projects, or maybe 1-page short stories, but instead I caught up on Tumblr. And really, that was fine. I think I want to take this month to give my creative plumbing a small break. It has been a solidly long time since I was able to play Don’t Starve—especially without guilt.

Now I’m looking down the barrel of my actual-second-draft, let’s call it Cassidy2, and I’m quite nervous. I’ve never done an edit like this before. On the one hand, it’s much smaller scale than Cassidy1, but on the other hand… I know how to rewrite. I’ve never tried to restructure what I’ve already got. I expect it’ll take a much shorter time, because it won’t have the agonizing hair-pulling angst of creating something from nothing, but on the other hand, I am in the habit of looking at my work as “right the first time.” It’s not that I’m necessarily convinced that it couldn’t possibly be better, it’s just that once I’ve written/drawn/designed a thing, it’s very hard for me to imagine it being any other way than exactly how I made it. So, I have a tendency to resist even very helpful suggestions, and coming up with them myself is practically impossible.

But learning how to do this is part of being a responsible artist. I feel that anyone participating in art will get better unless they are actively resisting it—and even if they are, it will probably happen anyway. But something like editing is a thing you can fail to ever learn to do, because it is a defined activity that is separate from creating. It is by no means a requisite to writing. But it is a requisite to writing things you want other people to read and enjoy. Recognizing your own imperfections and being willing to revisit and refine your work… well, I don’t really have to tell you why it’s a good thing. You already know. Even if you’re like me and you always do everything right the first time.

Final word count: 56,603 (�)

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