There are times – hours, days, months if you’re lucky – when things seem to gel, and serendipity hovers one step ahead of you. Those times are precious. The past month has not been one of those.
However, I did want to share what I have found to be a really cool idea – it works well for me, and it may work well for others, too. Let me preface this by disclosing that I edit obsessively. It really is pathological. And one piece of advice that has been really helpful as I’ve fretted and despaired the loss of words, thoughts, angles, and concepts – has been ‘Don’t get attached to any particular sentence’ (I wish I could remember where I heard that first, and now I can’t find the exact quote). It’s been both painful and liberating to heed this advice. And I think I’ve hit upon a compromise that works: when I feel that for the sake of cohesion a certain sentence or paragraph or attribute needs to disappear, I copy and paste that part into a ‘Cool things to keep’ file, and let it sit (or fester). Then, if I decide to put it back in, it’s intact. If not, it can (and has) germinate into another story idea. It works well! I’ve now written a few new things after perusing this file.
It’s been a process to accept the need to cut while editing. It undoubtedly improves the final product, but man – is it ever torturous sometimes. I am one of those people who start with an image or a word, or – yes – a particular sentence – and build a whole story around that one idea. Having to cut the initial image or word or sentence that started the story is horrifying, quite frankly. And yet, it has sometimes cut the string that lets it fly in a better direction – or, er, out the window to disappear forever. Whichever.
Oh well, back to work. My collection of rejection letters needs some tending. Happy writing.