May
13
2010
24

The Odd Elements of Creativity

The evidence doesn’t offer proof, but truthfully, I’m a security freak. So I found a security blanket: non-fiction writing. *chokes as I eat my words*

It’s a good gig, though: I only write when I want or need the money, and I can not write for as long as I want. I don’t have to scurry up work or query or pound down doors, which is big for me. I just pick and do what and when I want. They’re just tiny articles, 300-500 words, but on a lot of interesting topics.

The great thing is that this ups my income to meet my goals for the year, three months early. While Glenn’s income makes our life more comfortable, I no longer *need* it to survive. In my whole adult life, I’ve only been partially dependent on someone else’s income for eight months, and I didn’t like it.

Most importantly, I feel like I’ve “made it,” in that I get to stay on the road and live this lifestyle, and I don’t need to stress anymore about losing it.

But the nicest thing is that I’m looking forward to my fiction writing more. It becomes a treat, rather than a chore. I’m spending less time, but I’m being more creative while writing, because I don’t feel the pressure to write fast in order to pay the bills.

When my brain blows a fuse on non-fiction, I might spend a whole day on fiction. I have to confess that I’m adopting a pattern of every other day exclusively on fiction. When I start losing my creative edge, I switch to non-fiction.

When it comes to grinding words for money, I much prefer writing non-fiction than pounding out stuff for Pseudie. I feel like Pseudie and I just need a little break from each other for awhile.

But this new gig is sure cutting into my Facebook and blogging time. Not to mention I just took a gig playing piano a couple nights a week. And now that Glenn won’t be taking the car to the doctor every day, I’ll be gone a full day every week, hiking the desert. Well, two days, but one will be just for fun.

image OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG!!!! Guess what? LOOKEE! Over there! I mean, over there! <— It’s the cover for Bernita’s book! A Lillie St. Claire book! I’ve been waiting for it forever, ever since I first heard of Lillie St. Claire, years ago! How many years was it? Isn’t it the coolest?! Major SQUEEE!

How is it that one has an open schedule, and if you blink, you’re suddenly busy-busy? And do you have any odd things that increase your creativity?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Full-Time Writing | Tags: ,
Aug
08
2009
22

How I Do Edits

I have a strictly professional crush on my editor. I think she’s fantastic. Since my adventure has gotten blissfully boring to talk about (although I did lose a cat all day today), I thought I’d talk about the way I go through my edits. Not saying it’s interesting, but I’m supposed to be talking about writing once in awhile, no?

There was no letter this time, just a bunch of comments in the essay. Those are easier edits than the overall ones, anyway. I wrote and re-wrote this thing about three or four times. (There are a total of eleven documents to do with this one essay, if that gives you any indicator.) I wrestled with this one, let me tell you. I think if there had been fundamental issues, I would’ve screamed and cried and thrown in the towel.

When I get edits, I do them in passes:

The Easy-Peasy Pass: I tackle the easiest ones first. This is mostly going through, right-clicking, and accepting changes by my editor. Maybe changing a word or deleting a sentence. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it gets rid of a lot of red in one fell swoop.

Ahhh! Much better. Looks like I made a lot of progress.

The Sure! No Problem! Pass: Then there are the little changes, the ones that pretty much make no difference to me. Swap the order of this sentence? Sure! Delete this bit? Gone! Tweak this idea? Easy!

After that, finding the easy edits is hard.

The Procrastination Pass: Nothing actually gets done during this phase, and I keep looking at all the comments I’d rather procrastinate. These are the edits that are going to take some work. I might, um, actually have to write a WORD. Or maybe even a SENTENCE. In a few cases, it might even call for MULTIPLE SENTENCES. And worst of all, sometimes I have to go and LOOK SOMETHING UP. I go through at least once or twice and do nothing, in the hopes that another “easy-peasy” or “sure! no problem!” fix will appear.

After I’ve blogged about doing my edits, after I’ve played with my cats a bit, taken a walk, poured a glass of wine, vacuumed the carpet, fed the cats, and taken a nap, it’s on to…

The Grind Pass: These involve swapping the order of things, adding whole new paragraphs, fleshing out ideas, etc. Ugh. I mean, I have to THINK. I have to drink some coffee. In fact, these can wait until tomorrow morning, right? It’s ten p.m., and I can’t very well drink coffee now, right?

Besides, I had a traumatic day: I thought my cat had gone missing. The squirt was hiding all day. It’s ONLY a twenty-foot camper, and she still managed to curl up in a spot I couldn’t find. She didn’t come out for breakfast!!! I thought she’d escaped through a screen, so I was wandering the campground and crying, trying to find her.

It’s time for wine, not edits!

The Final Smooth: After all the work is done, I have to go through to smooth out the changes. Swapping the order of two sections means I’ll have to see what no longer makes sense. When you start changing words, you suddenly have the same word two times in a paragraph. Ick. Stuff like that. When you change one sentence, the rhythm tends not to fit in the whole paragraph. All has to be smoothed out.

And then it’ll be done!

It’s funny, as I was packing for this adventure, I came across a stack of my essays for my German lit minor. Wow! I was not a natural writer. You wouldn’t believe the stupid mistakes I made! (Of course, most of my essays were written the night before.) I’m astonished the professors gave me A’s. A few of the A’s were presented thus: “Nevertheless, A-”

After this, I have an endless bunch of fiction to write. Ahhh. Nothing like an essay to remind you how much you LOVE fiction.

So how do you do edits? You don’t go in ORDER, do you? LOL! ;-)

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Editing | Tags: , ,

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