Did I really just sit through five episodes of Dance Moms today instead of working on my edits? Yeah, I did. What the heck was I thinking? I have a second pass of edits due to my publisher in less than two weeks. I’d never even seen Dance Moms before, so why would I ignore my writing responsibility for a reality show? The answer is simple: I wasn’t in the mood to work on my manuscript, and on top of that, I did it without feeling guilty.
Yeah, wasting five hours in front of the tube was totally unproductive, but it was something I needed to do in order to get the mojo I need to begin those edits later this week.
Obviously every writer has their own method for getting in his or her “writing mode,” but for me, letting my manuscript sit on my computer untouched for a few days helps me. I discovered this four years ago.
In 2011, when I received my first manuscript back from my agent with her suggested edits, she told me to get it to her when I could, but I told myself I’d have it done by the end of the week. She also said that I should read her notes and “sit” on it for a few days in order to take in her comments. Yeah, right, I thought. Not me! I’m ready now!
So I thought. After reading her letter, I opened up the document and sat at the computer completely at a loss. Overwhelmed and not sure where to start, I wasted three hours feeling like a complete failure and wondering if I’d ever get my edits done.
Damn, I could have used those hours watching mindless television instead. Lol. See my point? Not only were those hours unproductive, but my negative thinking lowered my writing confidence.
The cure? I walked away from it and let my agent’s comments sink into my head for a couple days. That week and at unexpected times, I’d suddenly come up with a solution to one of her comments and write it down. Then by the end of the week, I was mentally prepared to jump in head first.
Now, whenever I get back a set of edits, I read the editorial letter and notes, and then I sit back and spend the next few days milling it over in my mind while killing time in front of the television, and I don’t feel guilty about it.
So far, this method has worked for me every time. I’ve always completed my edits successfully, and I’ve never missed a deadline. Try it! 🙂
Growing up in San Diego, California, Karri Thompson spent much of her years at the beach, reading novels, tanning, and listening to music. At SDSU, she earned a BA in English, MA in education, and her teaching credential. As a wife, mother, and high-school English teacher, she began writing novels, giving all of the compelling plots and unique characters in her head a home. Victorian literature rocks her socks, and when she’s not writing, jogging, going to concerts, or watching her son play football, she’s reading Dickens.