Insomnia is the name of the game lately. Not a productive movie flavored insomnia either. Real, brutal, tired as hell, lie in bed awake insomnia. The kind of depressing sleeplessness where you believe that you should be able to accomplish a bunch of tasks. But in reality you can barely follow the plot lines of sesame street.
The good news is that it seems to be cooling down a bit. Instead of not sleeping for three nights in a row, it’s settled down to sleeping OK for a day or two, and then a sleepless night. Which in essence is a big freekin tease! I just start to feel good again. Start to feel productive, and then Bam! nope you’re not sleeping tonight.
Fortunately while I’ve been going through this haze of a mind numbing sleep/awake cycle, not once have I been tempted to quit writing. So that’s good I suppose. Not that it means I’ve been getting much done. A page or two of editing here or there. A few nights I’ve even been coherent enough to finish a chapter.
So really it’s pretty much the story of life in general. Just keep plugging away.
Two words can explain where the hell I’ve been for such a long time:
Pain, and Pain Killers.
Some day I hope to make this a much longer post about the horrors of necessary pain killer addiction. But tonight it’s just a quick and simple explanation. In list form no less.
1. Injured my back awhile back. (pun intended. I like puns.)
2. The only form of treatment for some time was strong painkillers. The side affects of which are searchable on Google. suffice to say that concentration and motivation both suffer dramatically. The pain just got worse, which in turn increased the need for pain killers.
3. Couldn’t really concentrate enough to read a book, never mind write/edit/blog/such and such and such.
4. Had two spine surgeries.
5. Surgeries seem to be working.
6. Getting off the shitty pain killers.
7. Feeling much better. Motivation, concentration, and mood are all much better. Beginning to put my life back together again. I am reading, editing, world building, and story planning again.
Someday I will probably fill in the blanks. Thanks to all family and friends who have been there for me throughout this debauchery of a life during the last 2 years.
That is all
One of the ways I’ve found to motivate myself to edit. Find a nice view, a little coffee, and the laptop. Isolated from many of the world’s distractions. Cause let’s face it, editing us a pain in the Ass, and its easy to get distracted.
I know I have already linked to David Farland’s website before. But it seems crucial to me that I must do it again.
Because this post “Boosting Your Prose” is an unbelievable wealth of storytelling, and editing info. So much so that I have created Excel checklists off of his own lists.
Now I realize that running through these lists is going to add an exorbitant amount of time to my own editing process. However, in the long run I believe that the finished product will be much, much better. Really that’s the point isn’t it? We as writers want to create the best product we possibly can before submitting it to the world, or a publisher.
This was a hard lesson to learn for me. In some ways I am very impatient. I want to be done with a project as fast as I can. The first book I wrote “Losians Offering” is a good example of this rush. It’s honestly not very good. It will take a lot of work to make it better. Perhaps some day I will have the time for it. But for now I am moving forward with my current work in progress.
Now I clearly see the errors of that philosophy. This is something that can never be rushed. In the end I know I will be much happier with the results, even if it takes till the end of the year, or longer.
So yet again I must stress how wonderful “Boosting Your Prose” is. Please pass this info to any of your writer friends or contacts. Even if you don’t care for my blog, just pass along the link. I’m not looking for publicity here, I just think that this is too valuable a post to ignore. I would love for any other writer to use it to their benefit. Because let’s face it, as writers we want to learn and improve. As readers we want to read good stories.
“Meet the Robinsons” has to be one of my all time favorite kids movies. I know I’ve mentioned this before, in the “keep moving forward” post, but its message is so universally beneficial that I must bring it up again.
There is a wonderful scene at the Robinson household where a young Lewis tries to fix a “peanut butter and jelly gun”. Subsequently the repair fails, and the gun splatters everyone in the room. Lewis shies away apologizing profusely. The rest of the Robinson household burst into cheers. They tell him that that is one of the best failures they have ever seen, and that only by failing can we truly learn.
This is an undeniable universal truth.
Recently I entered a very big writing contest. After not hearing anything for months I finally got the rejection letter that I was half expecting. Though the irrational part of my brain created dreams of what winning this contest could do for me. It could have propelled my writing career, Might have given me the notoriety I need, or just recognition that a writer so greatly desires. If nothing else it would have given me some much needed cash.
Alas…no such luck.
I spent some time dwelling on this loss, which I often do when anything deflating happens. A day or two later I received an email from the contest director sending me a link to David Farlands blog.
Here I found a wealth of writing tips that I had not seen before. In particular tips for the editing phase, ways to spruce up your writing. So, I threw away my feelings of defeat, and sat down to learn as much as I possibly could.
In a way perhaps I did win that contest. If I had actually won, then I might not have been directed to David’s site at the exact moment that I’m sitting down for major edits on my current novel.
I’m sure I’ll have a lot more failures…Good…that means I can make my writing the best as it can be.
I’m writing this post for two reasons.
First: I Googled the phrase “how to stay motivated while editing your novel” and I came up with very little in the way of constructive results. Almost every post popped up as “how to stay motivated while writing your novel”. Well considering I already wrote the thing, that isn’t very much help.
Second: Any thoughts anyone has on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
As of now I am trying my hardest to plod through the editing process. The going is slow. Not just slow, it’s like pulling teeth while walking on a bed of coals in an ice storm. Yeah that about sums it up. I’m only about a hundred pages behind where I wanted to be at this time.
It seems the biggest problem is focus. I can sit down and write for hours on end, and time just sails by. I sit down for five minutes of editing, and I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I become tired. My eyes get heavy. My mind starts to wander. I start thinking about other things I could be doing.
I tried going for a walk yesterday. That helped for about another five minutes.
I tried taking a nap. That was utterly useless.
I tried watching a little TV. (I’m guessing you know how that went.)
I tried eating, drinking, going to a coffee shop and consuming massive quantities of coffee. I’ve tried reading, and surfing the net, and listening to every type of music I can think of, and cleaning the bathroom, and…and…and…Blarggg…
So in response to my initial question…I have no idea…
I suppose when it finally comes down to it, editing is just a painful, slow process. The only way to stay motivated is to “just do it”. No matter how painful that is.
Again if you have any strategies on staying motivated, I would love to hear them.