The challenge of accruing words

 editing, Master Class, Pari Noskin Taichert  Comments Off on The challenge of accruing words
Feb 202012

by Pari

It’s been more than a year and a half since I started my daily writing. During that time, I’ve missed only one session. For a moment I thought about giving up, the way a dieter does when he or she pigs out on an entire chocolate cake in one sitting and then feels that everything is undone.

But I didn’t give up and now I have hundreds of thousands of words, more each day, and I don’t know what to do with them all. It’s certain that many of those words are superfluous. There are thousands of “ands” and “buts” and, God forbid, the nasties that end in “ly.” 

However, there are probably even more words that link together to make decent — if not brilliant –stories. Again, this is just a hunch; I have no idea if the short stories, novels and novellas I’ve written hang together at all.

Before I took the Master Class, editing had always been a pleasure for me, a time to hone and redo in a better way. In Oregon, I learned that editing can often be the death of a piece — it can suck the spirit and energy out of creative prose and process — though the writer has the best intentions. Since I’m seriously afflicted with thinkiness anyway, I’ve avoided the whole question of how to strike a balance between doing nothing and overdoing the editing (in my creative writing only; my writing at work is subjected to microscopic editing daily). Seventeen months later, I have no answer and a hell of a lot of words that need attention.

Working more than 40+ hours a week puts a dent in the hours I have available for everything else. Those 40 hours aren’t the whole picture either. There’s transport to and from work, coming down from the exhaustion of a full-time job etc. etc. There’s taking care of the kids, the house etc. etc. etc.

Some would say, “Pari, just get up an hour earlier to write when you’re fresh.  That’ll buy you time to edit in the evenings.”

Great idea if I wasn’t already getting up at five so that I can fit in exercise. None of this is complaining; I love my job. I love that I’m writing daily. Perhaps that’s enough . . .

Who am I kidding? Once you have readers and they appreciate your work, you want more. The feeling is too wonderful! Too fulfilling! I want my fiction to be read again!

So what to do? How can I reframe the editing into something as meaningful  — and as pleasurable — as the joy of the creativity so that I can commit again?

Any suggestions?

(BTW: for those that don’t know already . . . the growth I referred to last week was benign. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts. I’m still in pain but it’s bearable now.)