Friday, December 7, 2007

The Trouble with 2000 Words

Writing is addictive. Writing 2,000 words a day for a month leaves you incapable of NOT writing every day. If you're the type who has gotten hooked on running, wine-with-dinner, or even tetris, I would think twice before trying NaNoWriMo. Don't get me wrong, the experience was fantastic, especially as I had really been wanting to write the story of THE BUS. Now, however, I find myself adrift, awaiting inspiration for the next story idea, and resisting (with only partial success) the urge to begin revising right away. Every craft book, ever NaNo blog, every writer-friend I have consulted insists that the manuscript be left alone for at least a couple of weeks. I am told I need some distance, some perspective. What I want is to dive back in and spend more time with my characters. Not opening that computer file is an act of will every day. I tried going back to revising my very pleasant middle grade ms, LIBRARY LIZARD, but the lure of THE BUS is so strong that I feel like an addict trying to tempt myself with weaker stuff. I'm just not biting.
I think I am afraid to let go of THE BUS because I've realized something about myself: I am a first-draft junkie. I love the thrill of the new character, the new idea. And letting the story go into pre-revision hibernation is often, for me, the beginning of the end of my love affair with the manuscript. It's been an ugly look in the mirror because it means that I have not been doing the hard revision work required to polish my manuscripts to submission quality lustre.
On the bright side, my compulsion has led to a pretty big pile of raw material to edit.
So, right now, I am going to push myself away from the computer. Lunch? (Remember that meal you used to eat before you started NaNo?) I am devoting December (okay, later in December and maybe January) to revision, however grueling, and to creating the best second draft of THE BUS that I can.
In 2008, I will actually polish and SUBMIT some stuff.
First Draft Junkie no more!

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