Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Firstly I left it alone for 24 hours, trying not to think about it or look at it and then before I started to work on it again I went for a walk. Thinking through my ideas as I walked, letting them slowly form and take shape so that by the time I was back home I knew what I was doing next.
The next bit of advice referred to my work methods. I started working on a hard copy which ensured I didn't miss any tweaks I wanted to make but also as was suggested with a notepad by the side to make notes for bigger changes. I also only worked for an hour at a time then had a break then went back to it.
These all worked so thank you to Helen, Kathryn and Mariam in particular. Though the irony is that these suggestions are all things that I tell my students to do. A question of physician heal thyself maybe - not!
I managed to achieve a lot yesterday with my rewrites. They are still not 100% right but I am getting there. I think what helped more than anything is that I was able to acknowledge there was a problem and that I was daunted by the enormity and importance of the rewrites. Then knowing I had the support of a huge number of friends I gave myself permission to accept this concern and to deal with it in small chunks. It suddenly became manageable and approachable.
It is a rare thing for a first draft to be complete and not require any editing. Rewrites are important as they give you a chance to hone your craft and polish your narrative. They should not be avoided and they need to be approached bravely. Sometimes you need to get rid of your favourite bits just because they don't work. That can be very hard if you have spent hours agonising over a perfect sentence only to remove it during the rewriting process.
Once the rewriting is done then comes the editing. Looking for anomalies of tense (of which I think there may be many in my case), inconsistencies (people called George at the beginning and Fred at the end) and of course punctuation and spelling. These are all vital processes of writing which cannot be avoided.
So am off to complete the rewrites including a new sex scene....think of me.
But also a huge thank you to all my friends who provided the solutions to my brain block. My PhD is all the better for you x