Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Insecure Writers' Support Group: Rewrite Woes

This might be cheating, because I'm writing this IWSG post on Sunday, 1 July. But given the shear horror I'm experiencing, I'm thinking I couldn't possibly be feeling more insecure than I'm feeling right now. 

I was fine until Friday, when I checked my goals for 2012 and saw that one of them is to finish the WiP2 rewrite by 30 September. *shudder*

Usually I have nothing against rewriting. I see it as a necessary and normal part of my writing method. But this.... this is different.

Because I already started rewriting last year. Two months in, I wrote 40 thousand words and I was so excited about the story. It was awesome. And then, the day after Christmas, disaster struck.

In the most catastrophic loss I ever experienced as a writer, I lost my entire rewrite, ironically while I was in the process of backing it up. I can't describe how much that hurt. Still I loved the story and vowed that I'd finish the rewrite so that I can edit it early next year.

But now it's July and the number of times I've even looked at WiP 2: Zero. Zilch. Zip. Not even after I decided that I'd have to start.

The mere thought of looking at it gives me the heevie jeevies. I loved the new version. I guess in the past few months, the perfection and beauty of what I've lost grew in my mind until I am where I am now.

What if this rewrite isn't as good? What if I open WiP2 and find that I don't love it any more? And should I even be forcing myself to do something when everything inside me rebels at the mere thought?

All I know is, if I want to finish this rewrite by 30 September, I better get over this aversion fast, because I have 80 thousand words and three months. My time to that deadine won't increase if I keep procrastinating...

What would you do if you were in my shoes?


  1. I bet once you rewrite it again, it will be even better than the first rewrite though. You've had all this time to think about it and you've grown as a writer even in just six months.
    You can do it!

  2. You can do it! I feel your pain as I lost work once before myself, but it all it takes you opening that document. Like Alex said, it will probably better as you've grown as a writer since you last worked on it. Hugs!

  3. Ouch. Not nice.
    Two tips I know of are (and I hope they help):
    1.Give yourself five minutes to get excited about what you are going to write in that chapter/scene. Pick a bit of dialogue or an event or a thing and let yourself get super excited about writing it.

    2.Then write a bit (only as much as you want, don't push yourself) and stop mid-sentence. It's a mind hack. When you look at it next time your brain will HAVE to finish that sentence and keep going.

    All tips taken from this amazing blog.

    I don't usually go for this kind of thing, but this one is quite cool :

    I hope some of that helped. I really do.
    And as Melissa and Alex say, you really will like it better the second time (take it from someone who knows -_-) because you'll remember what you like most and get to work from that without being distracted by what's already there.

  4. I did this exact same thing with my own First Book (which I will publish this year by hook or by crook) and oh my, I wept and spent many a sleepless night over the absolute brilliance I would nee retrieve. Then I realised, it wasn't really so brilliant. IT was however lost and your know what its like - what you can't have you want all the more. We put on those rose-tinted glasses when it suits. I eventually got over it by telling myself that in between losing the novel of my lifetime and rewriting it I learned a few things - lots o things in fact, which meant my next re-write would be far superiors on all levels. I didn't pick it up, I sat back and remembered my main character, her voice, her personality and the journey I'd set her on. Slowly, I got nostalgic and greedy for more. She did as she had done in the beginning - dragged me into her world. When I opened up the word document, I read it, changed it, and realised hoe differently I felt about the journey, so re-plotted (using a plan I 'd recently found online) and vwalla! I was hook.

    Give your characters chance to pull you back in. To make you need to re-write their journey. I know you'll do this one so much better than the first one, and you'll know it too once you remove those rose-tinted glasses. :) Best of luck Misha, oh and btw - I signed up for the IWSG too - My first post is up. :) It's so me. X

  5. I feel your pain. But as the previous advice suggests try and pick yourself up and get stuck in! If you loved it the first time around maybe you'll love it even more the second time. Remember deadlines are made to be broken as well so don't let that put you off. GOOD LUCK, YOU CAN DO IT.

  6. When I used to write poetry, I learned so much about actually seeing what I'd written, if I left it be for awhile. Seeing what's there vs. what I thought was there is a skill that I had to practice a lot! So when you start this new rewrite, be guided by what you see on the page, not what you imagine the first rewrite was--and let the writer in you write.

  7. Well met, Misha :)
    I've only had what happened to you happen to me on a small scale, so I can't begin to imagine how losing all that work must have felt. I agree with the others that rewriting it now will make it even better than it was. It's most likely the sheer word count that's stopping you from loving your story again, so I think once you've taken that first painful step into the rewriting process your characters will speak to you again and you'll write as as freely as you did before :)

  8. I feel your pain! This happened to me too. I lost everything, my research, my notes, my outline. I never went back to my cozy mystery but I think about it every day. All I have left is the first chapter I'd printed out.In my mind's eye, I write and plot and realize some of the things I'd written were contrived. I'll go back to mine if you go back to yours. :) Honestly, don't let it get the best of you. Look at it from a fresh perspective, as if you're finishing the story that a friend gave you because she said SHE was giving up! I wish you the best.

  9. If I were in your shoes, and still loved the story, I'd do the rewrite. I expect it will go faster, and the writing will be better (because much time has passed, and thus, you have improved as a writer). Put some time aside and make it happen.

    Of course, if I were in my shoes, I'd procrastinate. So it's a good thing we're talking about your shoes here.

  10. That sucks. That is a huge loss. I'm so sorry.

    ...I'm going to have to rewrite my WIP. I outlined this time to avoid it, and now I'll be rewriting for different reasons. :( Can't win.

  11. In your shoes, I'd pick a night and place I wouldn't be disturbed, pour myself a glass of my favorite wine, and re-read whatever I had. At some point, I'd try scribbling at least one sentence. Once I'm in there, I'm in there. And I trust my deepest knowing, that with the time passed and fresh perspective, I'd write right. Good luck!
    Some Dark Romantic

  12. Oh, how awful. I'm so sorry that you lost so much work. I don't know if you can summon the energy to recreate it, but maybe you should have an online site (as I do) where I put every chapter as soon as I finish it. That way, if your whole computer crashes, you know it still exists.
    Good luck!

  13. I can sympathize. It's awful when you lose such a huge chunk of a manuscript. You may not be able to reproduce it exactly, but the time you've spent thinking about it and the growth you've experienced as a writer should help you improve upon it. :)

  14. Ouch. It's a timely reminder for me to double check all my work has been backed up correctly. In my experience everything is so much better the second time through so trust in your story and more importantly YOU! :) Best of luck.


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