Solitude, by Vinoth Chandar / flickr

Dragging my feet with these edits

I really have no good reason why it’s taking me so long to get this done. I have no excuse. Catching up on every saved episode of “Jane the Virgin” on my DVR and watching every episode of “Chopped” listed on On Demand are not excuses. Neither is looking at the pages that need to be edited and then turning on my computer to play around on Pinterest for an hour.

I almost typed “I don’t know what’s wrong with me” but that would be a lie, and this blog is all about telling the truth in writing. I know exactly why I’m dragging my feet: I’m scared of finishing this novel.

Fear’s come up before on this blog. Honestly, fear seems to be the strongest emotion when it comes to me and writing. It’s mostly fear of the unknown and fear of repetition, which I’m doing pretty well now, talking about fear all over again.

This is how it works: I’m so close to being done with not only this novel but a major revision of it. I’ve been so close for months. I tried to give myself a deadline. I said ‘by March’ and now I’m saying ‘by April’ which is all well and good but self-created deadlines are much easier to break than deadlines imposed by outside sources. I don’t have anyone telling me that this needs to be done by X date. I don’t have anyone eager to read it (that I know of). I have a writing group (whom I adore) but with the way it’s set up, we do two chapters of mine every other month, or thereabouts. It’s a wonderful set up, and I’m not knocking it, but it’s not driving any urgency into me to get this done.

I’m dragging my feet with this novel when I shouldn’t be. It’s not that I’m not excited about it. I am. Every minute I spend editing I get more excited about this story and the characters and the next steps. It’s not that I don’t want to get it done. Of course I want to be done with this. I want to set it aside, fiddle with something new, revise again, query, etc. It’s not that I don’t want to work on something else. I would love to be working on something else. I just can’t let myself because if I do, I’ll never return to this. I know the way I work.

I know what I need to do. I need to just do it. But every time I try this, I push it aside and do something else. And that something else isn’t even writing! If I were focusing in on a new story or something, I’d excuse myself. But I’m not even doing that.

Every day, I say to myself that during my lunch break, I’ll finish editing another chapter. What’s so hard about that? It’s an easy goal to meet. A half hour of my day when I should be breaking from work, while I’m eating, I should finish a few pages of revision. I even make it easy for myself: I set my chapter and pen out before I get my lunch. But do I do it? No. Of course I don’t.

Not every day is a loss. I spent one Saturday morning recently typing up all of my edits of several chapters. Of course, because I hate doing that, it ruined me for any additional revision the rest of the weekend. Also, last week before a small group I belong to, I camped out in a local library to get another chapter revised. Unfortunately, small group was cancelled and I high-tailed it out of the library to get home and watch TV. So that was a half-bust.

I have two chapters left. Three scenes to write. Possibly another scene to insert earlier on. Some edits to make based on writing group feedback of early chapters. Then another full read-through and possibly small edits here and there. Then — done.

Now if only I could get my butt in gear and finish this. I’ll start today with my lunch break. I really, really will.

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