Posted by erinlausten on August 22, 2013
When I was in college, I thought when I got to that last semester I had it figured out. I knew how to write papers quickly and efficiently. I could research with the best of them. I knew what the professors expected and had established a time management plan that worked for me.
Boy was I wrong. That last semester was the hardest of all. Everything I said above was true, but that semester almost killed me. I still remember calling up my dad crying, wanting to quit, and just all around throw in the towel.
Why? Well the courses weren’t hard. The professors were great. Everything was fabulous. So why was I a wreck?
It came down to one, small, yet extremely relevant reason. It was the LAST semester. My brain decided I was done before the end. Finishing that degree was one of the hardest things I’d had to do. And ultimately, I discovered that finishing period was the culprit. Not the actual activity, but the grand condition called Completed.
I have discovered this as a trend in subsequent projects, and especially those that take extended periods of time. Graduate school was the same. Then I started writing books and ran into the same issue.
Finishing a book is rough. But just like with anything else, you have to put your head down and just get it done.
I keep telling myself that. And yet, here I am again. I have five chapters left. I’m so close, I’m not even looking at word count anymore. I have a series of scenes that are laid out before me and just need to be written. It’s exciting. It’s invigorating. It’s driving me nuts.
Five chapters. I even have the outline in big bold letters on the Huge dry erase board my fabulous husband built for me. And…. My brain decided I was done last week. Now it wants to think about what happens next. What are my plans when it is done? What revisions do I need to focus on first? Where do I go next? How long will I let it sit? When will I be able to send to my Beta Readers? How soon will I be able to have it released?
Oh My God. IT ISN’T EVEN DONE!
You can see the problem. So what’s the solution? Well, I have declared war on my brain and told it to shut the hell up. I am going to write a chapter tonight if it kills me. Then I will write another the next day and the next day. One day at a time. I am going to stop thinking and just write.
I don’t care if it sucks today. I can fix it in revision. I don’t care if I missed something. I can fix it in revision. I don’t care when it will be released. It never will if I Don’t FINISH, so that’s just a stupid thing to get in the way of writing.
It will be done, and with luck, my next post will have some fabulous news. Wish me luck!
Oh, and, yes, I did make it through that last semester. Thanks Dad.
Posted in writing | Tagged: Beta_Readers, book, Books, brain, college, completion, Dad, done, editing, edits, final, finishing, focus, issues, Luck, projects, revision, support, writer, writing | 3 Comments »
Posted by erinlausten on April 25, 2011
It has been a while since I have written about my writing. Trust me, I haven’t slowed down. Actually I have been going gang busters, but with my head down and plowing through the manuscripts I didn’t take the time to reflect on the process as much as I had in the past. But now, now I have something really interesting to report.
When I am in heavy revision/editing mode it is extremely difficult to read other people’s work. I have been working on two books. One a novella I expect to release as an e-book in May, the second a full length urban fantasy novel I expect to release sometime this summer. Revision is fun. For me at least. It is like picking apart a puzzle. I get to use the analytical side of my brain and really work sentences into something real and enticing. It’s hard work. And I find as I practice I am getting better. This doesn’t mean I don’t love the initial creative phase when I lay the story on paper. I love that part too. One deals with possibilities the other takes them and makes them a reality. Together they make the whole.
But what about reading? Well, since I am in full analytical mode I find myself rewriting everything. Other people’s work included. So I sat down to read a book to relax and found myself rewriting their sentences. I couldn’t get involved in the story. I got sucked into the words. And I had to stop.
Eventually I found the switch that allowed me to let it go and just read, but it was a real eye-opener. And it illustrated how interesting the brain can be. I mean I never knew I had to turn one side off to use the other. Learning how to do it on command is even more difficult. I don’t know that I will ever be able to do it instantaneously.
So tell me, have you ever experienced something like this? Has your brain ever refused to cooperate and how have you learned to flip the switch?
Posted in editing, reading, reflection, writing | Tagged: brain, reading, reflection, revision, writing | 3 Comments »