noctuary: (Letters)
One of the reasons I have been so slack the last couple of days (I tell myself as my eyes wander back to the Youtube tab, where another episode of Cheers beckons...) is that I have reached a page wherein I had apparently, writing my first draft, discarded my inner editor entirely (as is recommended) and just tried to get words down.

Fine.

But now I am left looking over the work and finding problems with every stilted sentence. I pour over thesauri because every paragraph has two or three words that just don't fit. I copy the odd sentence down into my notebook and sit with furrowed brow, poking and prodding, occasionally stabbing at the paper with a pen over and over and throwing the notebook across the room. I am tempted to print out these few pages just so I can have the tactile relief of balling them up and tossing them away.

It is frustrating: the right word proves had to find. This is the time I thought of to myself when writing the first draft, "That word doesn't sound good, but I'll worry about it later". This is later. Later sucks. All those bits and pieces, all those fragments of sentences I am so inclined to just worry about later cannot be pushed aside.

It is hard work. Each sentence needs to be teased apart. New sentences need to be inserted there, old ones need to be removed or totally remodeled. I can spend ten minutes on two or three words, trying alternatives, rearranging them, finally sighing and giving up only to stop halfway through the next paragraph and come back to hammer at them some more.

It is discouraging. I enjoy reading a half-page and thinking, with a warm glow, that I am a genius and that writing at top speed at 5 in the morning apparently works well for me. I like taking a paragraph that's already quite shiny and polishing it so I can see my face. Finding a page of dirty, tarnished paragraphs is disappointing.

But still. This is what we sign up for. And it may be frustrating, difficult and discouraging but when it is done I will feel I have actually accomplished something of merit. In the mean time, I think of my open word file with dread, and my mind tries to find me something else to do.

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noctuary

December 2011

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