Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How do you do it?

After I rewrote WiP4 to pen and paper, I decided to spend an unexpected couple of hours writing it. And I wrote... half an A5 page.

At first I thought it was because I didn't have an Internet connection. That I suffered from withdrawals.

But while I can't rule out the possibility, I think there's something else at fault.

When I first decided to start on this story, I'd been revising for about two weeks. Now I've been revising for about two months. Almost non-stop.

So it's a very real possibility that my internal editor is so active (for very good reason) that the creativity of drafting takes a back seat.

And that makes me wonder. I'm surely not the only person trying to write and edit at the same time. But at the same time, I have no idea how I'm supposed to do both.

I mean, I've never gotten as far as edits before. But I know that some of my bloggy friends have. So now I ask:

How do you kick-start creativity after spending time on edits?

20 comments:

Suzi McGowen said...

I create a creative environment when it's time to be creative and a "business" environment when it's time to edit.

For creating: Music, comfy clothes (or pjs), work on a WiP related scrapbook, just a 15 minute creativity warm up before I start. Also, I set a timer.

For editing: Get dressed (including shoes), sit at my desk, have my edit supplies handy, set a timer, etc before I start editing.

The "set a timer" thing works because sometimes I think "oh, I have plenty of time to do X". The timer reminds me that I don't :)

mooderino said...

Interesting question. I often do both at the same time, althoug I try to separate them as much as possible, one in the morning, one in the evening kind of thing. It is a different mind set though and I try to do something in between to cleanse the palate, maybe read or watch something on tv. Usually I'm just happy to be using a different part of my brain.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Brooke R. Busse said...

I hope this doesn't happen to me when I start writing in August.

Beth said...

I have a really hard time writing and editing at the same time. It's hard to live in two different worlds at once (3 if you count the real world).

I try to take breaks between each round of edits and focus on my WIP. Also, my goal when I'm not editing is 2k/day. But I make a smaller word count goal for myself when I'm editing. I'm still toying w/ it but I'm thinking 500 words/day

Laura Josephsen said...

It's REALLY hard for me to write while I'm editing. Like...I don't know if I've ever been able to do it successfully before. When I'm editing, my writing is compartmentalized somewhere else. Maybe I can plan and plot in the back of my mind, but whenever I try to write, it goes NOWHERE. I've learned that if I can get through the edits, I can get back to writing--but sometimes I need a break in between. Maybe not long, but my brain needs to recharge. Last time I needed a recharge, I spent a month just reading. Not thinking about writing, not TRYING to write--just reading. It did wonders for me.

Terry W. Ervin II said...

I try to write a clean first draft. What has helped me is that I re-read what I wrote the last session, allowing myself to edit/correct typos, etc. Knowing I'm going to do this helps me move forward. It also helps to refresh me of the storyline (what was happening) when I stopped the previous session.

Of course, what works for one writer isn't a proven solution for the next writer.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi, I try to keep both separate, but it never works.

Lynda R Young said...

I'd recommend some writing exercises to get you kick started. For example, give yourself 3 minutes (use an egg timer or something) and just write whatever pops into your mind. Don't pause. Don't correct. Keep writing.

Libby said...

I think writing flash fiction helps. It keeps you creative without demanding tons of time.

Steph Schmidt said...

Creativity binge. I caught up on movies, books, shows, tumblr feeds that I'd missed in the editing cocoon. I had a story screaming in my ears after all that out of head time so the editor didn't have room to butt in. Keep trying new things because this hesitation might be yourself telling yourself something. Maybe you need to index the story out on post it notes and then branch to writing because your inner editor wants to make sure you know where the flow of the story is going?

Caitlin said...

I'd give some writing prompts a try. Anything from a paragraph to a page or more, to see if you can get some of those creative juices flowing flowing again. Good luck with it!

Damyanti said...

I'll repeat some of the advice above...

Usually I edit when I'm not getting much done creatively, but sometimes I do have to do both---deadlines. So I do my creative part in the morning, start always with about 3 pages of free writing, which may or may not be about my WIP, usually it is letters to my penpals, and then I write a few hours on my WIP.

After, I have my lunch, take a break, and start editing in the afternoon/evening. Also I write my first draft at all sorts of places, but I edit only at my study desk.

None of this was deliberate to begin with, but I found it works for me. You just have to potter around with both, and find your own process...each of us are individuals, and what works for others may not always work for you.

All the best with your WIP edits, and your creative writing!

Amy said...

It is very tricky to write while editing something else. I usually have to pause a little bit, to try and visualize what I'm trying to write. If that doesn't help, a break usually works too. I do spend a lot of time day dreaming while I do household chores! :)

Jessica Lei Silva said...

I don't have a problem between internal editor and draft writing. It might be that mine is never off, but it's never a real hindrance. So when the writing doesn't come, there's usually some underlying reason. Like the scene is boring, something isn't working and continuing to write will just snowball the fail.

But I guess you might want to distract your editor with shiny. Maybe really try to focus on how badly you want to write the scene you're going to, envision it, and just go for it?

C. N. Nevets said...

I think that's one reason I stopped compartmentalizing the draft and the revision so much. When I allowed the two to play together, I realized that editing can a free and creative expression, and that drafting can be organized and rewarding. It has its downsides, too, but I don't miss that tension and the stop-and-go routine.

LynNerd said...

I do both and it can be tricky to get back into drafting. I'd do some freewriting for however long you want to loosen up. Write anything and just go with it. Be as silly or serious as you want or go from one extreme to another. Have fun, no pressure. Then start on your new project.

Tanya Reimer said...

If you don't have a deadline, just go with what feels right. Sometimes inspiration hits and well... why fight it, right?

Adriana Noir said...

I have the same problem. My internal editor never shuts up. The good news is it usually makes for a fairly clean first draft. The bad news is, it probably takes me twice as long to write it. Let me know if you figure out how to overcome this beast!

Devin Bond said...

Getting inspired by something completely irrelevant always helps me. I definitely have to keep the creator and the editor separate. The two don't co-mingle well. Reading, watching a movie, or looking at pictures... Just little things.

Adina West said...

I'm not sure I've ever spent that much time in a single block JUST editing - there were always rewrites needed (which used the creative side of the brain) or I'd be working on another project at the same time as editing. But I like some of the suggestions commenters above have come up with for turning off the 'editor' and waking the muse!