Must…not…edit… – okay, maybe just a little.

Since finishing the first draft of the manuscript last week, I’ve been finding it very difficult to keep my hands off of it and not start editing the hell out of it. I know that you are supposed to let a draft ‘rest’ for a time, but I’ve never been very good at that – often I edit earlier sections before the first draft is even done. The only reason I didn’t really do that this time was because I was so desperate to get the draft finished before going into labour. Letting this draft rest is a good idea. First, my brain can subconsciously work on some of those content issues that I know are lingering in there. Second, Kid 1 is on March Break so how much time could I actually devote to it this week? And third, how far am I really going to get before I have no choice but to shelve it for a while?

Oh, I also have a copy of a friend’s first draft and I really owe her some editorial commentary…

So yes, shelving it for a while is clearly the best plan.

At the same time, though…

My husband suggested that perhaps I just look at the first three chapters, if I’m that desperate. After all, that’s usually all an agent or editor wants right away. I resisted this at first – the interested party I have wanted the whole thing when it was done. I did consider the idea though, since there’s a possibility that that won’t pan out and I’ll have to go elsewhere. So, just out of curiousity, I popped open the first three chapters.  At which point I made a rather surprising discovery: the first three chapters wound up being SIXTY-ONE pages (of a 256 page, 22 chapter whole).

Excuse me?

Upon further investigation I found that Chapter 1 is about 4 000 words. Fine.

Chapter 2 is 12 000 words.

Chapter 3 is 10 000 words.

Oops. So yes…if I do find a chance to put in any work on it this week, apparently my first task will be determining where the first three chapters actually should be and maybe then putting in a bit of editing time on those.

Critique Class continues to go well…I’ve now also had my short piece reviewed and once again received very positive feedback. This was a 900 word piece that I read aloud to my smaller group, none of whom had heard it or seen it before (unlike the long piece which was emailed a week in advance to the entire class). A couple of people even told me that they liked it better than the longer piece! So I came away feeling very happy (and validated!) once again. Prepping this short piece also at least allowed me to do a tiny bit of editing, which helped my twitchiness about it. Now I’m off the hook until the second half of the class, as far as presenting my own writing is concerned.

Prep for baby 2 continues at a pretty frantic pace. I’m feeling (marginally) less panicky now that the nursery is painted and we’ve bought most of the things we’ll need for the baby and the hospital stay. Eleven days…crazy. I don’t quite believe sometime in the next two weeks I’m going to have two kids!

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Panic=productivity. And good thing, too.

I’m taking a short break from the writing at the moment while I try to sort out the perspective for the next section. I’m hoping that the inspiration for it will come to me in some sort of tidal wave-esque type of rush in the next 15 minutes or so, so that I can make some productive use out of the rest of my day. What’s more likely, however, is that I will spend the rest of the afternoon getting annoyed about not being able to make a decision and dithering about on facebook and the like.

Regardless of that, I’m pleased to say that the reason I haven’t been updating at all recently is because I’ve been using every spare second I can find to work on the manuscript. I’m happy to see that I still have that magical panic=productivity talent that I made use of so often in school. The thought that I might not get this anywhere near done before I become some sort of sleep-deprived (loving, maternal) robot is freaking me out.  And now I can report that the end is, in fact, in sight.  The MS is going to be longer than I’d hoped…at the moment it sits at 120K and I still have one major section plus one side story to complete.  So yeah, I’m probably looking at 150.  Sigh. Looks like once I come back into the land of the living it’s going to be the land-of-the-living-as-an-editor.

As a side note, I’ve also realized that I’m going to have to rewrite a lot of the side-story. I’d pulled most of that directly out of an old manuscript but now that major character’s motivation has changed and, with it, most of his story.  Ah well, that’s actually the least of my concerns.

A few things I’ve determined during this blog hiatus:  First is that I have to take breaks, albeit short ones, on my writing days.  I can’t just sit and write for eight hours, as delightful as that sounds. Maybe if I had everything planned out to a T and knew exactly what everyone was going to say and do before they did it. Maybe. (I seem to recall having occasional days like that in the past). But now, even a 15 minute break to go change over the laundry and do some folding can make a world of difference.  I can wander off thinking that I won’t be able to get back to my writing for a week and suddenly the path for the next section will just appear before my eyes. Allowing myself those little breaks is part of why I’ve been able to do accomplish so much recently.

I’m also forcing myself off of things like facebook while I write. I give myself an hour – write from, say 9-10 and then at 10 allow myself 10 minutes online.  That usually lets me catch up things like email and FB and I’m not checking it every 30 seconds. Unfortunately I’ve not been following all of my blogs as much as I’d like because of this policy, but maybe I should try catching those up in the evenings…generally by then I’m too tired to write, even if it hasn’t been a ‘writing day’.

Writing class starts up again on Monday and while I’m very excited about this, I’m also going in more apprehensive than usual. Probably because I was one of the people selected to give a 3K section to the class last week that they are all going to critique for me on Monday. I agonized over what to send and I’m happy with what I did send, but it still makes me cringe.  Hey, it can’t be any worse than the conference, right?  Right?

To add to that, I also discovered that I’m on the list for “read a short piece to the class on the spot for critique” for the following week! I understand why he’s put me in the first two weeks (as I could disappear at any moment to go have a baby) but I’m still pretty stressed out about it all.  Oh, and I’m going to finish writing the manuscript over the course of these next few weeks as well.  Okay, then, I’m sure I’ll have time for that. Especially with Kid 1 home with me for an entire week of that during March break.

On that note, I guess it’s time to go hang up some laundry and see if the next section will work itself out for me while I do so.