Evolution

The writing process is an evolving thing. It has to be, to keep that creative fire burning. Which is why I am fine with how this WIP is progressing. Slowly. With an outline. Before, I would never have used an outine–too impatient. Because I’ve revised so much I’ve learned a couple of things. I know now that outlining will save me from too much revision.

What is too much revision?  It’s not just the work and time of rewriting a story over and over, which is substantial. It’s also that feeling of loathing toward my manuscript after the 100th revision. It’s like it gets too familiar or something and I just start to hate my story. A way to avoid that revulsion is to not revise so much. A way not to revise so much is to get the plot mostly right the first time. A way to get the plot mostly right the first time is by going slowly, planning, plotting, outlining, especially on a big project like a novel.

Another thing I never would have done before is spend time writing in longhand. My first typewriter was a portable manual I borrowed from my mother (also a writer). Those things were so difficult to use. Just hitting the keys was like lifting mini-weights with your fingers. Every time I pushed a key there was so much resistance. Never mind hitting the right keys, it was physically challenging.

Then I got an electric Smith-Corona. The “electric” part was some mechanism that helped relieve the sheer physicality of typing. It was easier to hit the keys. They went down quicker. I am not even going to get into how hard it was to correct errors. The electric typewriter was a bit easier, but not by much.  

When I finally got a word processor, I was immediately hooked on the ease of it all. I never wrote in longhand. What for? Well, as I’ve grown and changed as a writer I’ve found is that writing in longhand is a good way to let the story tell itself in its own time. Plus it’s way more comfortable to curl up in a cozy chair with a notebook than sit at a desk with a keyboard. I am all about comfort, so if I didn’t do the longhand option, I think a lot of times I just wouldn’t write. Sitting at a desk can feel sometimes too much like work.

And even the ordeal of having to type up the notebooks is ultimately a good thing. I usually do a bit of revising right then, which makes one less draft I’ll have to do after this first one is over. I’ve told the story to myself twice, so I remember it more, which makes it easier to fit in missing pieces.

This weekend, I finished typing up everything in my notebook. I’ve got 164 pages, so I guess I’m not going all that slow after all.

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