I #AmEditing Again

YES, it’s true: after many moons of non-editing (most of which was for not-really-very-good reasons), this past weekend saw a burst of writerly action at last.

I think the kick in the pants that started this effort was a direct consequence of the writing workshops I’ve been going to at Old Firehouse Books up in Fort Collins. Those had the effect of getting me thinking about writing again, and I think it just went from there. The most recent workshop was last Tuesday; by Friday evening I’d decided that I was definitely going to do some editing work on The Artemis Device on Saturday morning. But unlike similar decisions in the past, which had been made a bit half-heartedly, this time I meant it. No, more than that — I was itching to get busy, for the first time in months. I was actually looking forward to it.

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You read that right: Looking forward to editing, of all things — the part of writing a book that many writers truly detest.

Well, there were a couple of distractions (for one, I have a regular Google Hangout call with family on Saturdays, and I didn’t want to miss that). But despite that I got past the hurdle in Chapter One.

Let me explain: there was a sentence in Chapter One that my copy editor had marked up requesting a change. But I wasn’t able to fix it. Every time I tried to work on it, I’d stare at it without a clue what to do.

Saturday I solved the problem. Here’s how: I ignored it. Went past it to the next mark-up, and dealt with it. Then the next. And the next. And then on Sunday I moved on to Chapter Two.

Only when I was done with Chapter Two did I go back to that first killer hurdle, the one that had been such a problem. By then I had momentum. I had confidence. My Vorpal Keyboard went snicker-snack, and the Sentence Of Doom fell. Success!

That was enough editing. I’m still rusty at the process and it’ll take a little while to get back to being able to edit for five, six, seven hours at a stretch, like I used to.

But I still had some writing left in me. I updated my WiP page. I wrote a couple of short posts on Google+. And of course, right now I’m writing this.

Today, after work, I did a little more editing. And the plan is that tomorrow I will finish the editing of Chapter Three. But if, like today, the day-job gets hectic and I’m not able to finish it, that’s ok. If I can only spend even ten minutes on it, I’ll be happy — because ten minutes of progress is better than no progress at all.

I might even write some more tonight; I have a couple of other projects in the works that I could spend time on. One needs some outlining work, the other, a read-through and maybe the start of a rough timeline.

But first, dinner. All work and no food makes Pete a hungry boy.

Until next time . . .

Yay Writing…

…AND enough of the politics for a bit. I can only take so much #TrumpRussia and #TrumpCare in a week.

This week the day-job project switched over to qualification testing, so apart from dealing with trouble tickets as the testers find things wrong I actually get some breathing room for a few days until we start the next sprint. Which means YAY I CAN DO SOME WRITING.

Yes, I know, I should be able to find time to write regardless of the six day, fifty-plus-hour weeks. And you’d be right, too. There are no excuses. Most days I start work around 6am and finish around 3pm or so, and then there are usually chores or something that need to get done, and those can take an hour or three, depending. After that I usually feel too buggered to do much other than watch TV or maybe play some game (I’ve been playing Astroneer on Steam recently; check it out). But now I have a solution to that, which I’ll come back to.

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I signed up for a summer writing workshop at my favourite local indie bookstore, Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins. The group meets once a fortnight over the summer, and even though we’ve only had one workshop so far it promises to be educational and fun.

As an example of the educational, here’s a thing: you know when you try to set aside an hour or two for writing but it never seems to work out because something else always comes up, or you’re just too damned tired or not in the right frame of mind?

So here’s that thing I said I’d come back to. One of group (I think he said his name was John) mentioned something he’d read: don’t try to set aside an hour; instead, whenever you have fifteen minutes free, grab your writing stuff and write (or outline, or timeline, or something — anything that moves your project forward).

That’s it. Simple.

And if that fifteen minutes of free time ends up being ten, or five, because something interrupts, that’s ok — because at least you got five minutes’ work done where you’d normally have done zip.

Of course, it can go the other way: you might find that the fifteen minutes you thought you had becomes twenty, then thirty, then an hour or more.

This is quite possibly the best little gem of writing advice I’ve heard in the last couple of years. Now, after the work day and the chores are done with, I can think about grabbing the Chromebook and getting something done, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes.

On that note, I need to make a phone call, and after that I have fifteen minutes free.

Until next time, gentle reader…