Sunday, February 16, 2014

Getting Things Done

By Rich

I've recently taken on two leadership roles. One is Assistant Director of Northern Colorado Writers, and the second is head of the fundraising committee for my daughter's 8th grade class trip to Costa Rica. Yes, 8th graders go out of country these days. Makes me want to go back to school, minus the teenage angst and acne.

But I digress. I asked the leader of the trip why I was given the fundraising leadership position. In addition to mentioning my twinkling eyes and brilliant smile, the main reason she gave was that I get things done. She's definitely right about that. Over the last decade or so I've been in a perpetual state of forward motion. Not even depression and the feelings of inadequacy that go with it halted the momentum. My position is to always move ahead and not dwell on what happened in the past.

This wasn't always my modus operandi. In the period known as B.F. -- Before Wife -- I constantly swam in the tepid waters of the past. I sounded like someone decades older when I spoke of the simpler days and how I should've done one thing or another instead of what I actually did. No one complained about my machinations because the people I hung out with did the exact same thing.

In the days of A.F. -- After Wife -- my attitude shifted, mostly because my wife has taken the advice of Larry the Cable Guy to heart and, to paraphrase, Gits ir Done. She sees something that needs to be accomplished, it's done before I even know it. Ripping up the carpet and padding in the living room of our first home is a perfect example of this attitude. Did I mention she was seven months pregnant at the time?

This wore off on me, and I now follow her's and Larry the Cable Guy's philosophy. This is definitely the case with my writing. I never infinitely revise a novel chapter until its perfect in my mind. I finish it and move on to the next project. I don't even make changes recommended by members of my critique group. I just store them in a file and come back to them after I write The End.

Many writers feel frustrated at their progress when trying to complete a manuscript, and I believe some of this is due to constant revisions of the same piece of work. Perhaps putting a chapter aside and moving the story ahead without this type of editing would make them feel more accomplished. Infinite revisers, I pass this challenge to you.

Are you a constant reviser, or do you just continue writing until you're done?


Shirley Drew said...

For me, Rich, I'm a constant reviser if things aren't going as well as I want. If things seem to be moving along, I just keep writing and revise later. Very telling, huh? Thanks for the post!!

Anonymous said...

Constant revision of a manuscript is not only a frustrating experience for the author but also for those in a critique group as well. One member of my fiction group revises her novel chapters and re-sends them to the list so we're compelled to read the chapter a second time. I agree it's best to write and then go back and revise.

Sarah Reichert said...

I've found myself, lately, getting into that cycle. I begin re-reading the last chapter, then inadvertently start editing it. By then, my writing mojo is lost and I haven't gotten anything new on the page. Thanks for this post, its very helpful.

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