Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stepping off a cliff

The minutes crawled before I rappelled for the first time.

It took forever to get to the cliffside. I watched while ropes were secured, harnesses checked and doubled-checked, gear adjusted. (I swear it was in slow motion.) I nodded (also in slow motion) while the whole process was explained to me.

But the entire time, part of my brain (probably the part devoted to Survival) kept returning to the fact that I was going to step backward off a cliff. A cliff that looked much, much taller now that I was standing on top of it.

I was about to step. Off. A. Cliff.

Which is sort of how I feel about NaNoWriMo. I am so not the sort of person who pounds out prose and then thinks I'm finished once I type "The End". Or that it's revised if I spell check it.

I'm the one who obsesses over what I write, who loves revision.

Who hasn't finished this completely new plotline of my novel because I take so long writing. Who has been very busy these past few weeks with her new job, and has a perfectly legitimate excuse for just going to bed instead of writing. Whose brain has whispered every day this week that I have committed myself to writing over 1,500. Words. A. Day.

Who, ultimately, can't revise until she's got new material to revise.

So I'm gonna do this whole NaNoWriMo thing, just like the rappelling. When I rappelled, backing over the edge of that cliff was the hardest part. The rest of the trip down felt like flying.

I think committing to NaNoWriMo will be the easiest part- I don't expect much flying after that. I am however, at the top of a cliff looking down. I might not love the trip before me, but I'm already anticipating the moment when my feet touch bottom.

November 30 can't come soon enough. December 1, I start revising.

How about you? Do you have to push to write new material? Or does it start to feel like work when you edit?

And what do you do to keep going?


Michelle said...

I'm standing on the cliff with you, holding your hand. Tomorrow, we jump. By the way, is there at least some water or something at the bottom? Is this like cliff diving in Mexico? Because then I can use the "sink or swim" analogy without mixing metaphors. :)

Michelle said...

I forgot to answer your question. Much like you, I prefer the editing and revising. The first draft part is the most difficult for me, probably because of the tendency to have clear pictures in my head, and my frustration when they don't show up that way on paper. This is why I get so bogged down by the internal editor. For NaNoWriMo, I will have to keep reminding myself that the fixing is coming later. How do you mute your internal editor?

Sarah said...

Well, to carry the analogy, this is rappelling. And with rappelling, it's entirely possible to get freaked out halfway down and freeze, hanging by your harness until you start moving again. : )

(That freezing bit would definitely apply to NaNoWriMo.)

For me, though, the best part of rappelling was the trip down. The transition from top of the cliff to side of the cliff was hardest.

So glad you're doing this with me! And I'm good with using 'sink or swim' anyway. Mixing metaphors has never bothered me.

Lisa said...

I gotta say that revising is harder for me. I definitely like it. I love playing with words, spending an hour on one paragraph to get it just right.

But with revising, it's harder for me to get a flow going. I'm more easily interrupted. And sitting down to do it every day can be more daunting, especially if yesterday's work didn't go well.

I really like the "not looking back" of first drafts. I like the freedom of writing something sort of crappy and saying, "oh well, I'll got back and fix it later."

Now it's later, and I have a lot to fix.