Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When Avoiding The Rewrite

As I mentioned last post, I've been doing a lot of rewrites lately.

There are some writers who can't help but write. As frequently as possible, for hours on end, with passion and obsession. Then there are most writers who aren't like that at all. We often have to cajole and trick ourselves into getting the work done. Some people say we're not real writers if we have to struggle with it. We tell those people to go fuck themselves and we squeeze a little more work out of our keyboards.

Rewriting is normal, but there are times when one doesn't want to tackle it. It may be due to the fear that the rewrite will make it worse. Whatever the writer adds or subtracts will ruin that gentle balance of mess that originally sat there and that's like taking a step backwards. We don't want to take a step backwards. We're far enough behind as it is. Paralysis is easier and can often be rationalized as something else.

Here's a thing that helps me get over that feeling. I copy the entire text into another file, call that file "Story Title" Rewrite, and tell myself I can fuck up the story beyond recognition there and the original will remain pristine back in that other place. In fact, it might help to insist to myself that I fuck it up and come up with the most ridiculous shit that occurs to me every step of the way. I just need to push forward. Many times that ridiculous shit is brilliant.

If you're still having trouble, start slowly. Change a word here or there. Do a search for a name and replace it with another name. Add a sentence that you feel is too gorgeous not to exist right in the middle of that mess. Sooner or later you'll find you've pulled out of the driveway and home is in the rearview mirror. That means you're rolling.

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