Thursday, October 7, 2010

Avoiding Distraction

I've been having a little trouble sticking to a revision schedule.

When I wrote the first draft of my novel, I was so disciplined. Or, I guess it wasn't discipline so much as obsession. I had to get that book out of me. I pounded on my keyboard with a fury that literally wore down the keys on a fairly new laptop.

And I made the book my main focus. At least the main focus of my free time. I kicked my TV habit pretty much completely. Not only did I not watch TV, I had no interest in watching TV. I watched absolutely nothing except Glee (which I was addicted to almost as much as my manuscript) for at least two TV seasons.

I didn't read much. For one thing, reading is time-consuming. And books for me are pretty much all-consuming - when I'm into one, I can't put it down. For another thing, I didn't want reading to interfere with my writing. I wanted my book to be in my voice, unencumbered by the voices of my favorite authors. And for yet another thing, I didn't want to psych myself out. When I did read while writing, I'd get all neurotic about it. Like, "wow, I really suck. This writer is so much more awesome than me."

And I don't like feeling that way.

Plus, and here's the big one, I refused to let myself think about the fact that I might, one day, actually try to get this book I was pounding out published. I didn't google "literary agents" or "publishing houses." I was completely ignorant of the whole process, and I wanted it that way. One of my rewards to myself when I finished typing the last chapter of my manuscript was to finally go on amazon and order a copy of the latest Writer's Market. And thus began my journey into publishing research.

I knew that part would be intimidating, but I didn't realize just how intimidating it would be. The online writing community is awesome - fabulous, amazing, supportive, insert adjective-of-choice - but it's also huge. I had no idea how many people were out there doing exactly what I was doing. And it rocks. And it's what I'm now addicted to - I have a whole round of blogs I have to check out every day, and those blogs lead to books I have to read, and now I have my own blog....

And that's all great, seriously great. But if there's one major, major lesson I've learned through all my research, it's that I don't want to launch my manuscript out into the world until it's ready. The first draft was easy. Revisions are ... not. And so I haven't been glued to the manuscript lately. But I need to be. I want to be. I want to launch my baby out of the nest and into the world.

Basically, I want to get re-addicted to my manuscript. I want to resist all the temptations out there that are calling my name, and I don't want to have to go to Franzen-style lengths to do it. (Did anybody see that Time photo of the desk where he worked on Freedom? Spartan. Facing a wall. No internet. Ugh. But it definitely worked for him.)

So I guess I'd better shut this down and get back to Chapter 11.

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