Hello everyone. It’s been a while since my last post, so I thought I’d take a moment to be in touch with all my wonderful readers and give you an update. I am currently in the middle of editing book two in the Bobby Ether series, entitled Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity. I’ve been at it for about a month now, and anticipate it will take another month or two before it’s ready for publication. Assuming that I’m happy with this latest draft (This is only my second draft. I did six drafts of book one), you can expect the sequel to be out sometime in late Summer or early Fall.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you some thoughts about editing, discipline, and the task of going back over something you’ve already written, especially when you’re inclined to want to work on something else.
To me, editing is the exact opposite of creative writing. When I create a new story, it’s all about moving forward. Often when I’m working on new material, I allow myself to type without filter. The goal is not to nail every detail, but to explore what happens next. Naturally, I go back and tweak what I wrote, but the urge to advance the story is the main driving force.
With editing, I can’t (and shouldn’t!) move past a paragraph, sentence, or even a single word, unless I’m satisfied with the result. For this reason, the process of proofreading can grind to a halt when I find something that doesn’t ring true, and I can’t easily discern how to fix it.
It’s at those times that I rely on the backbone of virtually all successful endeavors. I am talking, of course, about discipline.
Discipline is the flipside of the creative coin. It’s the self-restraint to focus on what needs to be done, instead of just what you want to do. It’s the glue that holds creativity together, separates good from bad, and hones good into great. Last, but certainly not least, it’s the mental fortitude to avoid distractions.
OK, so how is discipline accomplished in writing? A dear friend and fellow writer, Jennifer Niven, once told me that it’s all about B.I.C., an acronym which stands for ‘Butt In Chair.’ I couldn’t agree more. The simple act of being at my computer with a word doc open on the screen, is the number one way I move forward with a project. No TV, no playing with my dog, no checking emails, no reading updates about the Lakers on my iPad. (OK, so maybe I do those things too, but I start at the desk, trying to work before I devolve into distractions).
Even at this very moment, my mind races and my heart aches to continue writing book number three (I’m halfway done!). It’s discipline that keeps me focused on editing number two. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to get back at it.
Before I go, I want to offer this advice for those of you with creative projects of your own: If you’re struggling to create, the answer is typically a (not so simple) matter of spending quality time with your story (For more on this topic, check out my blog on The Pool). On the other hand, if you’re struggling not to visualize, but to either write, or refine, something you’ve already created, I challenge you to commit to B.I.C. Exploring the Multiverse may also help. Either way, good luck to all of you with your own creative projects. I hope you find both the inspiration and discipline to pursue your dreams.