I love it when I get new stuff in, particularly if I have had a creative surge and a managed to get a whole heap of manuscript writing done – It’s always great when things are going well, it’s a wonderful feeling to make solid progress on something as complicated as a manuscript – but there is another reason why I like it and that reason is that I can now use it for further inspiration.
That’s right, that new stuff works in more ways than one.
I don’t read through my manuscript-in-progress every day. That quickly becomes impossible. It’s not a good idea in any case. The best way to see your work clearly is to shelve it for a bit so you can see it with fresh eyes and a clear mind. That said, it is – at the same time – important to read your work many times through the creative process to be sure everything is as it should be as you progress.
There are many chosen ways of balancing this, I’m sure, but when I have to read, I make good use of it. I read when I hit a problem, slow down or somehow lose my way, which is easy to do when you’re handling multiple threads, especially if you have been shuffling things around. That’s when I sit down and read through what I have created to date.
This practice of reading through only at problem times not only allows me to check how it stands so far, it also helps me get a fresh feel for the threads and weight and balance, but on top of that, it gives me a huge boost to continue on and often clears up whatever that problem was that stopped me in the first place!
That’s mainly because of the new stuff.
By the time I sit down to read it, all the fresh stuff that has gone into the work since the last time I read it through is – naturally – fresh. A lot of it has been forgotten, but most importantly it has not been read before. I get a real kick out of such a read through because it’s like a new book. I remember my last read through, I remember what I had, so “finding” all this new material frequently leaves me delighted. I cannot be disappointed, either, even if I bump into poor stuff. If something there is not up to scratch, hey, that’s good news, too, because I know that bit isn’t working and out it comes. Or I fix it. It’s all progress.
Most often, though, I feel inspired by my read through. Sometimes, if I’ve really dragged my feet to get going and don’t get to it until late in the day – then I find I’m so fired up I wish I’d read it earlier!
With every read through I also edit and polish, making both of those things a joy as well.
Does it get any better than this?
I read it after it’s all finished, too, of course, but in the meantime, it is during the problem times that I choose to read my own work. When I’m stuck, I use my own new stuff to help me over the hurdle and continue on.
In effect, these two jobs – getting through a creative pause and reading – are better combined because (for me) each boosts the other. The creative pause gives me the push to read and appreciate what I have so far created, and reading the manuscript gives me the prompt to get over the creative pause.
It’s a win-win.
What about you? How do you do it? Do you like to combine those things, too, or do you prefer to keep them separate? Are there other ways out there?
Yes, I’m asking. 🙂
Have a great day, everyone.
When I work on a project, I free write everything I want until I tire, go do something else then the next day I go back through, fix all the spelling errors and what not, but no a major overhaul, free write again — rinse and repeat. Usually when I go back through I see everything clearer than the day before and it helps me get started for the day. When I finish a ‘part’ I go through the entire thing take notes and do a major overhaul, do it again until the project is done then I put it away for a predetermined length of time depending on the piece. I didn’t adopt this system until my second novel, but it works well.
Hi Nina – I like it. So each day you give yourself that boost forward by looking back at your freshest stuff. Yes, I do that too from within a section (because I’m still working there). That sounds like a great way just to get going on a daily basis, that would refresh where you’re at and get the excitement to go forward as well. Sounds great! 🙂
I’m not one of those writers that fills a scene with HHHH because I can’t think of anything. So last night I had to write the conclusion of one of the battles in my NaNo novel, but couldn’t think of the inside of the GOLEM (MECHA) so I bare boned it, the pilot got out impaled, now after the time I know what it looks like on the inside.
I’m with you – I’ve done that too. If I want to catch the action while it’s flying through my mind and I get to a bit I have to describe, I’ll mark the spot and come back to it. Sometimes it works on the fly. Other times, once my subconscious has had a go at it, it’ll come out better on the second (or third or fourth) time through.
We sound like we write alike to some extent. 🙂
I like the sound of the pilot impaled. Grabs the imagination. 😀
Everyone got hurt in that battle. Nina went crazy and broke everyone’s arms.I just knew I wanted her skewered, didn’t know how. lol
What can I say – Well done! 😀
Wow, it looks like you really enjoyed the process, Allyson. you remember how each process and the feeling on it. Great. it really nice to read this post. I feel the enjoyment too. 🙂
And, yeah, it has been a long break for me reading your blog. 🙂
Nice to see you again. 🙂
Busy days for both of us, I think. I’ve not been around, either, but I have not forgotten you! 🙂
Aw, nice to hear this. 🙂
Hi Yuna! Thank you – yes, getting enjoyment from the process is what it’s all about. 😀
Indeed, Allyson. 😀