I’m going to tell you a secret. I have a really messy closet. That mess extends to the floor outside my closet and on Thursdays, it extends past my writing desk and all the way into the hamper in the bathroom. This messy living sometimes seeps over into very messy writing. I am an instant gratification kind of girl and this inevitably leads to rushed writing that requires a lot of editing. Why am I baring my soul and admitting such a thing to you? Well for one, I believe when we admit to having crazy writing habits and writing environments it frees up the newbies among us to realize there is no magic secret to getting that manuscript finished and you can do it in almost ANY environment with any kind of schedule. But I digress.
Earlier this month I was in a rut. Bored with my manuscript and overwhelmed with the changes I knew it needed to be submission ready, I needed something new and creative to stimulate me. I decided to take on the challenge of de-cluttering my closet. I needed to get that pair of baggy jeans off my key board in order to meet the daily word count challenge I set; needed that pile of fresh but wrinkled towels to move their way off of my monitor so I could see those notes from my editor. What was different about this challenge was that I did it with my Career Success Group (more on them in the future). We challenged ourselves to do a cleaning sprint, much like the writing sprints we have all heard about in NaNo WriMo. For two uninterrupted hours, at the exact same time on the same date, the four of us took to our closets and made a pile of clothing to donate and a pile of clothing to throw away. If it has a hole, tear, or stain, it is time to say goodbye.
In two short hours my closet went from being so stuffed I could not close the door, to having absolutely NOTHING on the floor except a set of hand weights. I breathed deeply. I threw away four bags and donated one. I had no idea how much was clogging up my environment. So how does this relate to writing?
When we are editing a manuscript it can be hard to rid ourselves of favorite passages or scenes. No matter how much we love them we cannot make them fit into the story. So we linger in the stage of trying to figure out how to make them work instead of just hitting that delete button and moving on. I am a great offender of this. My words are like gems—precious, rare and expensive! My time is precious so when I finish a page it is difficult to find any reason to delete that hour of work—even if it does not benefit the story.
Also, consider this—after I donated that pile of clothes and removed them from my environment, I had more room in my closet to go shopping. Once that page of word-clutter (so I made up a word) is gone, it opens up the creative juices to let new scenes and ideas come shining through. You may even be motivated to put a toe into new waters and write for another organization—like the LARA newsletter!
So here is my challenge to you! Take a moment to throw away that six month old pile of mail on your writing desk. Toss out the old pens that you love but have long since run out of ink and are chewed to the point of pain. Most importantly, if a passage is not working DELETE IT and move on. Trust that new and better words, the right words for your manuscript, will come.
Until next time,
Posted in Victoria's Blog by Katrina Rasbold with no comments yet.