Last week, I was working on the new outline for the Novel Rewrite. I had index cards and a sharpie and a bunch of notes, and was happily laying them out in different patterns on the living room floor. Since more than one of the cards reads Some Dude Dies Horribly, it was a little serial killer meets Kindergarten art class.*
I finally found a pattern I semi-liked, one which made sense and that I could work with. I took a photo of it, made some more notes…and then just stopped. The cat came to sit on the index cards I had so thoughtfully laid out for her. I did a couple of blog posts. Checked out some new short story listings. Whenever someone stepped near the cards, I’d have my Archimedes moment and tell them to not disturb my circles. And if they asked, I’d say it was going…well.
One thing I didn’t do was actually start the damn rewrite. It’s not ready yet, I told myself. I don’t want to rush this part. I have to make sure everything’s ready.
Eventually, I realized the problem: I was stalling.
Those of you who have met me in meatspace probably know that stalling isn’t my deal. I’m that person who loses patience with the never-ending discussion of where to go for dinner after ninety seconds of “I don’t know, whatever you guys want to do.”** The most polite term is probably ‘decisive’, the least polite ‘bossy and arrogant as hell’.
And here I was, vacillating like a thirteen year old girl trying to choose between two colours of mascara, Carbon Black or True Black.***
Thankfully, I figured out what was going on before I lost too much time. I was only stalling because I didn’t want to fuck it up. So I argued with myself that it was already fucked up; the zero draft is proof of that. After that, it was easier to put on my Big Girl Bra and get started.
Lesson of the day: the quest for perfection is a pointless waste of fucking time.**** All it will do is run out the time clock on your life and leave you with nothing.
Better to just strap down your important bits, grab the chainsaw, and dig in.
So? What are you waiting for?
*Kindergarten Killer, coming soon to a cinema near you.
**I’m starting to think that my friends do this just so they can watch me have one of my Hulk moments.
***The fuck does this even mean, cosmetics companies? And don’t get me started on Blackest Black, Deep Black, Jet Black, or Black Out. It’s fucking black.
****This might have also been one of the themes of the Lego movie I saw over the weekend.
13 thoughts on “Hesitation Marks: How I Finally Started That Goddamn Rewrite”
Okay, OKAY, I’ll stop planning and start rewriting. Sheesh.
I DECLARE MYSELF WRITING DICTATOR FOR LIFE.
Dear Zero Draft. I have been stuck or “stalling” on rewrite of chapter 19 for many weeks now….simply don’t like my ending. It is boring. My thing is to research more when I am stuck. If nothing else, I certainly have an understanding of geographic Scotland, dispite the fact that I have never visited said area, intending to someday. Please, give me one of your pushes. Your index cards are not helping…been there. I will keep trying…need to get this done.
If your ending is boring, try asking “what do the characters (or the readers) really, really, REALLY not want to happen right now?” Fucking with people: part of being a writer.
Or burn the index cards and wing it.
Thank you. I am still working on it.
P.S. Love your posts…all of them.
Aw, thanks. That warms the blackened steel gears where my heart used to be.
Don’t worry, Steph. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.
I am waiting till I’m done reading this blog post. Really. This one’s the last. I’ll read it, then I’ll start writing. Honest. Just one more. Really.
Oh, hell no! You did not just say that all black mascara is the same! Every woman knows that you only where Charcoal Black when you’re at a barbecue with your friends and that Assassin Black is used for the business garoting, but that Ninja Black is only for those special occasions when you want him mesmerized by your eyes as you slip your tanto between his ribs.
Really. Wearing Charcoal Black or Midnight Black for such occasions is just gauche. And don’t get me started on the differences between Slut Red, Fuck Me Red, and BJ Red.
Shit. I used the wrong “wear/where.” Sorry. Joke ruined. My bad.
It’s cool. The grammar police have no authority here.