Sunday, September 30, 2012

Writing Seasons

September has been an absolutely chaotic month for me. I had an incredibly productive summer for first drafts. I finished one first draft - added between 25 & 30k, then joined camp NaNo and wrote another 60k. I finished off that draft in the first week or so of September.

Now I`m in revision mode. I`m back to the story I finished in the early part of the summer. I'm doing a read through right now, doing minor revisions and seeing what needs to be done. While I'm moving at a decent pace, I feel like I'm back to snail mode.

Is it the difference between first draft writing and revising? Or is it the day job taking back a huge portion of my day and energy? Or is it all in perception?

My favourite part of the process is first draft writing. I LOVE this stage and could probably do it forever. I have so many ideas calling to me all the time.

But I've learned to enjoy the revision stage too - and during the school year, it's much easier to do revisions than first drafts. So, I'll try to enjoy the less frantic pace of revisions while I hope for more time in the coming months.

How about you? Do you have certain times of year when you prefer to work on different stages of the whole process?

68 comments:

  1. Just the opposite - I like the revision stage much more. I work better when I can 'see' what I'm working on.
    As for when, I don't think it matters the season.

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  2. Alex - I've learned to enjoy revisions ... most of the time! I do prefer that blank page though - so many possibilities! :)

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  3. Yes, I love the excitement of a first draft, but I also like the different pace of revisions. I find I can work on revisions and be slightly distracted by things around me, but when I'm writing a draft I need space for concentration. Revisions are easier to fit into my life, so I try to get that first draft out as quickly as possible! Congratulations on finishing your first draft!

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  4. Amy - thanks! I love both of these new stories. They obviously need some work, but I think they have legs! :)

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  5. Good for you and your productive summer! I just wish I could wrangle my Muse back into business. I'm veeery slow and distracted these days. le sigh.

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  6. Tricia - I've had those months too. They seen interminable, but they do end! Hopefully your joy comes back soon! :)

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  7. season doesn't matter to me and I've come to enjoy both first drafts (new toys are always such fun) as well as revisions. There's something satisfying in knowing you're making a good story great.

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  8. Hi, Jemi! So glad your summer was so productive. Enjoy the revision process.

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  9. I like writing new stuff over the winter when I'm inside for hours because it gets dark early. Spring and summer for second drafts for me.

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  10. I think I like the first draft stage more but that might be because I'm currently stuck in revision mode. The grass is always greener and all that. Summer is a low productivity time for me. Too many distractions.

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  11. Yay for enjoying the revision process! Good for you!

    I do enjoy the drafting process more but I don't think I have any seasonal favourites for doing so - more depends if I'm emotionally happy and stable no matter what the season is! Take care
    x

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  12. I didn't enjoy the revision process because I think I didn't count it as *writing*. But it is! And now that I make lists for my revision chores, it does go faster.

    Sometimes, I'll start a new project while editing an old one, since the tasks use two different parts of my brain. But, if I do that, I make my drafting goal very, very light.

    Best wishes for your school year!

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  13. I don't say I have a favorite time for any one thing, but it seems I have a tendency to start in December/January (and work on revising just about the rest of the year; I need to pick up the pace!). As for a favorite thing? That's tough. There's a certain thrill/rush with drafting, like the exhilarating part of a roller coaster ride, but I really like the feeling of crafting that comes later, too. I think I just love it all!

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  14. I love first drafting too. I enjoy revisions because I like seeing my work improve but it does seem to go slower.

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  15. I'm not sure when I do the most writing. I'd have to go back and do a guesstimation.

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  16. Ms H - I really love the slash & burn types of editing, but adding details is harder! :)

    Susanne - thanks! I hope it goes well too :)

    Susan - good for you! I can do NaNo during the winter, but other than that it's revisions for me!

    Linda - I think I'm the opposite of most people - other than teachers! I love those summer months for writing!

    Old Kitty - there is something magical about those firtst drafts, isn't there? :)

    Elizabeth - thanks! Like you, I don't always count those revisions as 'writing' - I'd much rather be drafting!

    Jeff - that's awesome. I'm learning to love revisions, but I don't think they'll ever match the joy of that first draft!

    Laura - it really does! So slow some days it makes me want to scream!!

    Diane - with my job following such a pattern, I think it's easier for me to writing in seasons :)

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  17. Your pace in unbelievable! Congratulations to you for some really great writing output.

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  18. Beth - thanks! This was by FAR my most productive summer - I'm hoping I can keep some of the pace going for the school year! :)

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  19. I hate first draft writing. I love revision. And since I'm writing fiction for the first time ever, I hate the process even more. Oy!
    Karen

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  20. I just need to find the time to sit and write. I'm excited for you, Jemi, you accomplished so much!

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  21. I'm pretty much season independent. I write most of the time, revise when it's time and stress the rest of the year. :-)

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  22. I don't mind when I work on what, but I'm more productive in the warmer months. Once the bitter cold winter months arrive, I really have to force myself to meet my weekly goals. The dreariness of winter numbs my energy. The coldness and limited light make me wish I could curl up with a good book and mug of hot chocolate 24/7! If only I had the luxury of doing that all winter, LoL.

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  23. Karen - wow! Completely opposite to how I feel! Thankfully there's no one right way to get there!

    Elsie - thanks! Me too. :) I'm definitely not finding as much time to write now - but that's to be expected!

    Lee - I do the stressing part quite well too!! :)

    Laura - wouldn't that be great! The luxury of time is something I'd love too!!

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  24. Autumn is usually the time for slowing down :)

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  25. Hmm... what a great question, Jemi! I've never really paid attention to my writing rhythms like this. Now I'm going to! I know there are certain times of year when I prefer certain books to others. Interesting... :D <3

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  26. Leigh - thanks! I think because I'm a teacher, the year comes in chunks to me anyway. :)

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  27. Dezzy - sorry - your comment showed up late! I like Autumn - my favourite time of year for weather!! :)

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  28. After finishing two drafts this summer, I must say I'd like to draft every summer since it's the hardest part of writing for me and I have time off. I'm revising and editing manuscripts now, and I find it easier to focus on those two stages during the busy work year.

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  29. I think I may be forever stuck in short story mode! =)

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  30. Like Beth above, I'm stuck in a mode - flash fiction mode at the moment...
    Though I do have a story outline of sorts which is taking forever to wrap-up...
    Seasonal writing rhythms? Mmmm, I must monitor this and see what happens...

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  31. Medeia - we're in the same boat! Summer really does lend itself to drafts!

    Beth - nothing wrong with that! I find shorts hard - I keep wanting to expand and build the worlds and people in them! :)

    Michelle - I like flash fiction - which is odd because I'm not great at shorts - that middle ground is tough!

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  32. Revision is always my favorite stage, in any time of year. It's so much easier for me to have something concrete to work with than coming up with something out of nothing. Guess we're all different!

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  33. I've heard it said that a first draft is the writer telling herself the story. As for the time of year for stages...I like the fall for getting started on a new project. Maybe it's a nod back to my school days and new semesters starting.

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  34. I don't know that I do... hmmm... I always want to start a first draft and I never want to perfect that final draft--first drafts are so much fun! Although... come to think of it, I usually avoid writing anything 'new' in the summer. I guess because there are too many distractions.

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  35. I like first drafts better too. I cringe at revisions but I'm okay once I start. But they always seem to go SO much slower.

    I hope yours goes well, and gets easier.

    Allons-y!

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  36. September has been crazy for me too. Haven't touched my manuscript and I'm itching to revise it!

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  37. Susan - I wish!! I used to be really scared of revision. I'm getting better - but some parts are still scary!

    Lauren - there is something so very like a new school year about starting that draft - love it!

    Jean - with little ones around, there sure are a lot of distractions!! :)

    Jack - thanks! I hope they get easier too. It's fun to slash & burn, but I hate adding in stuff!

    Nutschell - it's so much fun to dig right in after you've had some chaos - the world rights itself again!

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  38. Good for you and your productive summer! September has been busy for me!

    Nas

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  39. Nas - thanks! I'm hoping October will slow down a little - I'm feeling snowed under and the snow hasn't even started yet! :)

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  40. I love dreaming about the first draft and starting it. Then I get a stand still, but then when I'm ready I write until it is done. Well, done and ready to revise. I'm really enjoying my revisions this time. I got the Emotion Thesaurus and I think it is really helping me.

    Good luck with finding time to revise since school has started again.

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  41. I'm pretty good at distracting myself, too, actually. ;)

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  42. I think I like revision better because the story is written. There's so much satisfaction in it being done. It seems easier after that.

    I wish you luck with revising!

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  43. Sharon - it is busy, but so far I'm managing! I'm using the Emotion Thesaurus as well - although I'm annoyed I didn't buy the print book - may have to fix that!

    Jean - me too! There are so many pretty distractions to go around! :)

    Theresa - I'm working on feeling that way - but for me, there's nothing like the magic of that first draft!! :)

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  44. I totally agree!! I LOVE first drafts and if it's too long in between I miss that stage. But, I've also learned to enjoy and definitely appreciate revision! Good luck!!

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  45. Okay, wow! I can't believe how productive you were! For me, I think I get more done in the winter when it's too cold to go outside. :)

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  46. Lisa - you're right - if revisions take too long, I get antsy for a new draft!

    Janet - thanks! I was beyond thrilled at how much I got done. I've never had a summer like that before! :)

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  47. Congratulations Jemi! You've won the Anna Campbell Giveaway at Romance Reader!

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  48. I like the first draft stage too, but have learned to enjoy revising and self-editing even more. I'm glad I don't have that day job to worry about though...work seriously cramped my style and retirement is like having wings.

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  49. Thanks Nas!!! You made my whole day - I'll pop on over!! :)

    Pat - I'm edging closer to that retirement age - and I'm definitely looking forward to it!! :)

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  50. I can understand why it is hard to write a first draft when school is in session. I know my co-author is busy beyong belief during the school year. Hope the revision process goes better than expected!
    ~Jess

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  51. Jess - thanks! I'm hoping so too. I'm so often drained at the end of the day, it's hard to do it all!

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  52. I'm not sure if I have a seasonal preference. I've been in the habit of joining NaNo every november, but this year I'll be way to busy to do that.

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  53. Lynda - I think NaNo was the trick that got me into writing in patterns too. I wasn't planning on doing NaNo this November (I did Camp NaNo), but I haven't made a final decision yet :)

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  54. Hope the revision is going well. I think I prefer revision to first draft writing. It's all about polishing and looking at the emerging shine.

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  55. I haven't noticed a seasonal preference. Just stopping in to say hi after my long blog break.

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  56. Rosalind - I'm learning to enjoy it more, but there's nothing like that first draft magic for me!

    Carol - hi! Hope you enjoyed your break!! Nice to have you back :)

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  57. I'm with you. I love the discovery draft--what I used to call my "outline" until I finally realized that at 10 to 30K it wasn't really an "outline" anymore :D. Then I love the process of finding where my subconscious has gone in between the discovery draft and the revision process, when I finally get to putting everything all together and I start to see all the different layers and connections converging until things just happen and I step back and say, oh, gosh, WHERE did that come from. THAT is my absolute favorite part. The things that I have nothing to do with that just appear on the page like magic. :D

    Love thinking about this! Thanks so much for the post. And I hope that you find time to enjoy the revisions. Congrats on such a productive summer!

    Best,

    Martina

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  58. I love first draft too.
    and though I do enjoy revising - I sometimes secretly fantasise that a revision/editing fairy might pop along and clean up my work LOL

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  59. Martina - thanks! It was a lot of fun. Those magical appearances are my favourite too - when your subconscious has taken over and given you something that fits perfectly - love it!

    Michelle - if you ever find one, I'd like to hire her sister!!! While I like revising well enough, it's not magic! :)

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  60. I just finished a revision that had the weirdest pace. I'd get absolutely hung up on a section and then fly through others. I'm with you, I love the wild abandon of the first draft, it's like you can turn the rule book off for a little while.

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  61. Leslie - exactly! I love the freedom, the euphoria of creating something brand new. I'm with you on the weird pacing of revisions too. :)

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  62. Wishing you a productive fall, too!

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  63. wow. Great for you! The revision mode is tough too. Whenever I'm fast drafting I want to be in the revision mode, and whenever I'm revising, I want to be drafting. Good luck!

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  64. MP - thanks! Same to you :)

    Christina - thanks! I always want to be drafting! But I'm learned to appreciate and enjoy the revisions too! :)

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  65. Wow, Jemi! That is an extremely productive summer! My summer was MUCH less productive. For some reason, it was the busiest yet with my kids' schedules. But I'm back on track now!

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  66. Kelly - thanks! My kids are older now and that makes life much easier!! Glad to hear you've got the writing going now! :)

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  67. I always feel like editing moves slowly too. Drafting is such a high! But I feel stupid while editing, as if nothing I do makes the story any better.
    Good luck with your revisions!

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  68. Deniz - I can feel like that too! It's so hard to feel confident when revising!!!

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