A fresh approach to re-writing

Here's a photo of my favorite writing spot.  As you can see I keep my crochet handy to take little breaks and pause and think... It's a cozy room that always puts me in the mood when I curl up there.

Since I've finished the first draft of my current novel, I'm turning to the re-write phase.  Re-writing is tough for me.  I've got some bad associations with it. SO...  in response I'm going to use counter tactics and try to turn it around.

What I don't like: It seems to go on and on and on.

What I'm going to try: Have a clear beginning and end.  Set a clear 5 week re-writing period.  After that I will have "draft 2".  If I need to rewrite again, I'll take a break for a week and then start another clear re-writing phase.

What I don't like: No easy way of seeing my progress

What I'm going to try: When I'm writing the first draft, it's easy to see progress.  It's all about word count.  So I'm going to use a visual marker for re-writing.  Stickers!  I'll give myself a sticker for each hour I spend a week.  As long as I'm spending time re-writing, I'm not going to sweat it.  It's all about putting in the time.

What I don't like:  Hard to know where to start - and my mind goes in circles

What I'm going to try: Divide book into five parts.  Spend a week on each part.  Spend several hours at first identifying what I want to work on in that part - make a list.  Spend the week tackling the list and crossing things off.

What I don't like: I stare at the screen and get stuck.

What I'm going to try: Step away from the computer.  Don't sit staring at an existing scene, trying to edit a word here or there. Look at scene (and novel) as a whole. Analyze what's wrong, what needs to be fixed, big picture with whole novel and specific scenes. Brainstorm many possible solutions on paper and away from computer.  Make lists, make mindmaps, close eyes and let mind drift, imagine. As needed completely rewrite a scene without looking at the original version of the scene.  Start fresh.

What I don't like:  I have freak out moments.  Doubt paralyzes me.  The problems loom like monsters and I think there's no way I'll ever fix them.

What I'm going to try: Being intentionally positive.  A new mind game. I'm going to use some of the ideas in Chapter 13 and 14 of Thinking Write to try to re-program the way I think and feel about re-writing.
Try to make it fun!  Stickers, anyone?
Focus on spending time and not "making progress".  If I spend time the progress will come.
Know that the doubts will come.  When I'm having a doubtful day, know that it will pass.
Reward myself (instead of punishing myself).  I'm thinking each sticker represents $5 that goes into a fun jar.

Do you ever do things like this? Try to re-architect something in your life and try to build new ways of handling it?  It's sort of like I'm training a dog - except that I'm training myself.


  1. Excellent ideas, Valerie! I'd tack this list up somewhere to remind me how I want to accomplish and overcome. Good luck with these methods! I think you'll do well with them.

    I like dividing up problems to conquer them. I learned in college that if I divide things up into bite-sized pieces I can learn anything. I incorporate that mentality into solving problems, as well. Stepping back to look at something as a whole is a great idea, as well. So often we get lost in the details. There's a balance we have to maintain, ya know?

    Keep on truckin'! Btw, love your cozy spot and that quilt!

  2. What a super cute blog you have here!! So happy I found you doll!


  3. You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!

    Seriously! I think you have an excellent approach.

    When I have something to do that requires inspiration, I have a tendency to dilly dally, and develop a sudden crazy interest in housekeeping, grocery shopping, laundry {kind of like today} . . . So my wish for you . . . I hope your house gets messy, and you forget to cook!

    In a few days, I may offer evidence of my creative output, too. Let's wish one another luck! My deadline is Saturday. My collapse is scheduled for Monday. :) {I'll keep telling myself that I wanted this, I wanted this!} Really truly, I'm having fun. Aren't you!?

    Very fondly!