Friday, February 4, 2011

Strategy


I just finished my second full length novel. And by second, I mean second one that's actually worth anything. I've written roughly 6 or 7 books of decent length, but one two were written after high school. And, needless to say, I don't count anything I wrote before college. My last book took four years to write, this one took an eighth of that time. Reason? Diligence, more free time, maturity.

That said, I still have to proofread. And progress is painfully slow. For being a prolific writer, I'm a terrible reader. I often find reading to be tedious, unrewarding, and even difficult. It's hard for me to concentrate and retain, even though literature is, like, my purpose in life. The reasons for my reading struggles depend on the book. Sometimes it's because I've been assigned to read the book by a professor, sometimes it's because the literature is ancient and therefore completely dull, sometimes it's because the book is too modern and poorly written and not worth my time, and often it's because I'd rather spend the time writing or doing something besides reading somebody else's work. I know it's bad, I should read a lot, right? The legendary John Green always gives this advice to aspiring writers: "read!" So I fail in that sense.

Luckily retention and focus isn't an issue during proofreading attempts. But motivation is. It's easy to write; it's fun, it's rewarding, it's progressive. Proofreading is lame. Nothing much gets done. I fix a comma or restructure a sentence maybe once every paragraph. I have a bad habit of thinking it's pretty good writing, even during proofreading. By that I mean, I don't notice errors because I'm the one who wrote it, so obviously I didn't think I was making an error at the time I wrote it. Well, okay... either I'm impressed by my old work and don't think it needs much editing, or I haaaate it and want to start over. This unpredictable dilemma of extremes also contributes to my procrastination. But I've started a new strategy where I can't do anything mindlessly entertaining until I proofreading a whole chapter from the book. i.e. I'll edit a chapter, watch a YouTube video, edit a chapter, play a round of Plants vs. Zombies. Etc. So far so good. I've edited almost 10 full chapters today. Progress!

I'm not sure how people will like this new book. It's realistic, but complicated. It's got a lot of characters, but they all know each other so it never has too many tangents--I hope. We'll see. It's the first thing I've ever written that isn't fantasy or science fiction. Big steps forward, right!? Hahaha. Okay, this blog counted as a task in between chapters. So now I have to go edit a new chapter in order to be allowed to do something else fun.

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