Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Jumping the tracks
I know that editing is an essential part of writing. I know that my rough drafts are just that: rough. I do want to make them better. Lack of desire is not the problem. I can even see my own mistakes. I often read things and realize that they don't work. I have no emotional attachment to them and don't care if they get chopped to bits. But I find it incredibly hard to actually make changes.
It's not just ideas but individual words that stick in my brain. When I'm writing I can come up with a variety of ways to say something and pull out the thesaurus to get just the right description. But once it's down on paper, my mind blanks on changing it. It is what it is.
So how do I overcome this? I've found a couple things that help. First, it's often easier for someone else to derail you (that's a good thing in this situation). Have a critique partner that throws out a new idea, or even just a specific reason why the current one isn't right. It gets your brain going in a new direction. Even if you don't do exactly what they suggest it can get the creative juices flowing.
What if you don't get any suggestion of where to go, just the knowledge that you're heading down the wrong track? That's harder. For me it takes a lot of brainstorming. A lot of sitting and thinking - or better yet, walking and thinking. I throw a lot of random thoughts out and most of them are worse. But if I keep trying I generally find something that fits. There's that eureka moment when you land on a new track and the path is clear. Then I get to start writing again, creating something new and different. And that's the fun part.