Monday, March 4, 2013

I'd Rather Be Writing

If you've been following along, you'll know that I finished the actual writing of Shadow Spinner back during January. ["Part Sixteen: The Dark Tree" is still available as a FREE! download today!] That means that since then what I've been doing is editing. Have I mentioned before how much I hate editing? I'm pretty sure I have, but it may have been awhile.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate editing in general so much. For instance, lately, I've been doing editing for Rusty, which is good. For one thing, I get to see his work before everyone else, but, also, I get to help him get it out to everyone else, because he has some stories that people need to read. I've also been editing various works of my creative writing students, which is not quite so likable as editing for Rusty, but that's frequently because I'll get to the end of something to find it not finished. Which is not to say that it wasn't turned in as finished, but it's quite apparent that the student, after writing 1000 words (which is a lot for many of them), just decided to be finished rather than actually finishing the story, and, then, I have to go take it back to the student and say, "Hey, you need to add an ending to your story." This can often result in me never seeing that particular story again as the student has lost interest in it and moved on to something else (which is less a middle school problem and more a pre-published writer problem), but it certainly means that I will have to edit the same story a second time when I get it back (sometimes still not finished, so repeat), which is a waste of time. [Remember, these are middle school kids. The only issue here is that we're getting close to the end of the school year, and I'm trying to get their completed stories in so that I can get them ready for the second Charter Shorts collection.]

However, when it comes to my own work, I hate editing. Once I've finished writing it, I just want to be finished writing it. If you get what I mean. I'm not one of those speed writers that can whip out a 40,000 word novel every two months and, then, spend the next four months revising, rewriting, editing. I hate all of that stuff, so I spend a long time with my work when I'm doing it the first time. It does, at least, cut out the revising and rewriting. It doesn't matter how careful I am, though, I can't make the editing part disappear. Spell check is great, and I'm able to catch an awful lot doing my initial draft, but it doesn't catch things like left out words (my bane!), homophones, or things with an "s" tagged onto the end for no apparent reason (Seriously, I have no idea where they come from or how they get there. Why does my brain want to make so many things into plurals? If you know, please tell me).

What it all really comes down to is that I would rather be writing. And, now, after over a month away from any serious work on any project, I'm starting to feel it. I get... all antsy. Kind of irritable. When I don't feel like I'm getting enough writing time in, I get... well, my wife says I get cranky. I don't think I've been cranky yet, probably because I am having time to work even if it is editing, but I'm starting to feel that way on the inside. It's like... I don't know... It's like being dissatisfied with everything all of the time. I mean, geez, Brother's Keeper is calling to me! Yelling at me, actually. "Finish me! Finish me!" And, to make matters worse, my side project, The Destiny Murders, is also poking at me and saying things like, "Finish him!" It's kind of a Mortal Kombat kind of thing. I say that because it reminds me of how my kids are when one of them is waiting for another of them to get off the computer.

"You've been on for an hour; it's my turn!"
"Just give me a moment!"
"How long is that gonna take?"
"Just a moment!"
"But it's my turn!"
"Just let me finish this!"

That can go one for 20 minutes, sometimes. And that's what the inside of my head feels like right now. Yeah, it's not really a lot of fun.

Of course, you can add to that the mounting pressure of A-to-Z which I had intended to be finished with by now (the writing of the posts) but which I haven't even started researching yet.

Thinking about it, I think the inside of my head feels like the inside of a bag with a couple or few cats in it.

I often see where people are talking about how they've taken a break from writing for a while and how good it was, but, really, I just can't take it. Seriously. Last summer when we were off on vacation (the first vacation in more years than it's worth adding up), my favorite part of it was sitting out on the deck in the mornings with my mocha and writing. And, when we went to Disneyland, I wrote a whole short story (which will be available as soon as I have a cover for it (unless I feel compelled to do another editing pass ("don't do it!" (that was one of those other projects objecting)))). All of that to say, I don't want a break. I'm no good with those. They make me all itchy on the inside.

Basically, I'd rather be writing.


  1. You need a second (or 3rd) computer. I can't share with my kids, I'd strangle them.

    At least you have end of year coming and a couple months to finish off that character that is screaming at you :)


  2. I understand what you mean. If I don't play my drums every day I am wretched and impossible to live with. And I never get involved in mixing or editing. Play it and walk away.

    Good luck on the A-Z challenge.

  3. Like Anne, I get all crazy if I can't play my guitar every day.
    Getting to read Rusty's stuff early is awesome, because he's awesome.
    Editing - my favorite part! It's that first draft that I don't enjoy. That's why I spend months on the outline. I want that first draft to go a smoothly and quickly as possible so I can just get the darn thing done. Editing is where it gets fun because I can finally SEE my story and can work with it.

  4. I recently edited an ebook for a friend and thoroughly enjoyed doing it. But then I don't have to write it in the first place.


  5. Pretty much all I've done for about a year now is editing and rewriting. It can be exhausting.

  6. Donna: Oh, they don't get to use my computer at all. That's them arguing over the other computer.

    Anne: One day, when I have the money, I will do more of that. Write it and walk away.

    Alex: That just seems so... inefficient... to me.

    Jo: Like I said, I don't mind when editing when it's not my stuff. But, by the time I'm to the editing part of my stuff, I'm kind of finished with my stuff. I did just write it, after all.

    PT: I don't think I could do that. And, if I tried, I don't think I would survive it, because my family would plot against me.

  7. I'm not a fast drafter either. I write very deliberately, editing as I go. I don't usually have a lot of big changes to make when I'm done, just filling scenes out and correcting the grammar. Well, until my critique partners tell me something sucks and I have to change it. Bah.

  8. L.G.: Well, see, that's not a problem if you don't use those CPs. What do they know anyway?

  9. As much as I enjoy being edited by you... I tend to get burned out on my stories after a couple of go rounds too. I'm trying to spend more time outlining so I spend less time rewriting, I've been working of Depravity for a year and a half now... it's time to be done, really.

    Anyhow... writing is pure bliss. Truly. I can't wait to start writing (from scratch) again.

  10. I'd rather be writing too. Why is editing your own book so painful? It's another one of the mysteries of writing.

  11. Rusty: As my oldest son would say, "I know that feel, Bro." I have such a weight of ideas waiting, kind of like my TBR stack of books.

    Jeanne: It's kind of like being made to do the same job over again. At least for me. I think that's my problem.