It’s time to face up to the fact that what started out as a hobby has developed into a full blown obsession. Over the last 5-6 years, my periods of not writing have been far longer and more frequent than my productive times. I’ve taken six months off, or more, with barely a thought. But something has changed this year – when I’m not working on something, I find myself thinking incessantly about it, and my only cure is to give into it.
Last Saturday I finished the first draft of my third manuscript. I celebrated by giving myself a day off on the Sunday before going back to work the following day. But it didn’t feel like much of a reward. All day I was itching to get started on the third draft of my second manuscript. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Finally, on Monday after work, I got out my notebook and the printed copy and I started reading through it again. As always happens when starting on a subsequent draft, I was both horrified and pleasantly surprised by what I found in there.
It needs a lot of work. Some of my plot lines are still not entirely believable. I still use too many adverbs (there are five in this post alone, and that’s me restraining myself). I’ve discovered another annoying habit in my writing that I need to eradicate. My protagonist needs to be less bitchy and more gutsy and resourceful. I need to be more effective in showing surroundings.The chemistry between my characters that’s crystal clear in my head isn’t coming across on the page.
At the same time, a lot of the changes I made in the second draft that I’d almost forgotten about were a huge improvement. The writing is a lot more taut than it was the first time around. And having written the second in the series, I’ve got a better insight into my characters that will help me to flesh them out in this one.
This was the first time that I’ve written notes before starting on a new draft. I was dubious about the process, as I’m a horrendous note-taker, but it’s been enormously helpful. I haven’t marked up the manuscript at all, which has allowed me to look at the story as a whole rather than line by line.
At around 1pm today I finished my read through, and I’ve filled 39 hand-written A4 pages with things I need to fix or change. I feel good about it – some bits are going to be tricky, but generally it’ll just be a matter of tightening up the prose and getting rid of some of the repetition. Satisfied with my progress in less than a week, I instructed myself to spend the rest of the day relaxing and start on the real work tomorrow. I got out my book and plonked myself on the couch for an afternoon of shameless sloth.
I lasted about four and a half hours.
I couldn’t help myself. I’ve just opened the document and re-saved it as Draft 3.doc.
My name is Rebecca, and I am addicted to writing.