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I should be writing. I want to write. I have the desire to write. But I’m having a hard time forcing myself to write. And it really is ‘forcing’ myself to write. I find myself avoiding the work, doing everything but write. I get lost on the internet daily when I know there is work to do. Then, after hours of this, I get angry with myself for not working, not accomplishing ANYTHING!

It is SO frustrating. I’m stuck in this circle of avoidance and self-disgust. I’m the worst employee, I swear. It’s sad.

However, I am honest with myself and can analyze my own actions. I’ve done this sort of thing before for ‘other’ issues. It’s time to use some psychoanalysis on this issue.

I’m in the rewrite stage of my novel, and, to be perfectly honest, this is the first project I’ve ever taken this far. I usually get to a ‘Final’ draft that has been polished to the best of my abilities and call it complete. However, this time I am working with an editor. She is a personal friend, and I trust her opinions and experience.

A scene in need of raking.

She marked up my novel and was not kind about it. Kindness is not something you look for in an editor. They are meant to be mean, cut with broad strokes, and eviscerate our beloved words to produce a leaner, meaner, and more readable product.

Overall, I agree with most of her edits and suggestions. Yet, that doesn’t mean it isn’t painful or easy.

I need to rewrite a side character into a main character sidekick; she is essential to the story and needs to be more involved. To facilitate the fix, entire scenes need to not only be changed but COMPLETELY CUT! This is what my subconscious is balking at and why I am avoiding my work. Because I like those words, and I’m attached to those scenes. Hours and hours were spent writing and polishing them until they shone. How can I just DELETE them? But that is what I must do. 

All those beautiful words!!

I have read in a hundred different places that “writing is rewriting.” Yet, I could never fathom how true and incredibly hard it is. The sentence I struggled for days to get just right, to invoke the perfect emotion, the ideal atmosphere, now has to be sacrificed to strengthen the remaining words. Knowing how necessary the task is, doesn’t make it any less painful. Those are my words, my work, and it’s got to burn.

I know myself pretty well, and I tend to avoid the most difficult tasks, sometimes to the point where they get forgotten and are no longer necessary. Success! But… If I want to be a writer – a well-paid writer – I need to get past this particular hang-up and move the f*ck on and do the work.

Realizing the issue is often half the battle. Fixing or working around the issue is the other half. So, I’ve learned some psychological games I can use to ‘trick’ myself into doing something I don’t want to do.

Example: I used to hate eating my vegetables when I was little. I also knew my parents would make me eat them, so I forced myself to eat the vegs first and as fast as possible. That way, they were gone, and I could cover their yucky taste with the good stuff. I’m now in my fifties and love vegetables, but I still eat them first every time!

Question: What is the psychological trick I will use to avoid the pain of cutting all my beautiful words from the book?

Answer: I archived my highly polished turd of a final draft and started working on a new version as a NEW file. I deleted all the scenes that needed to go and most of the material that needed to be changed. Now I am essentially working with a clean slate. I’m no longer editing ‘that’ book; I’m working on a new book with someone else’s input. It may not be as good as the first or may fail to live up to our expectations. It doesn’t matter. The scenes and words I had such passion for but was unwilling to let go of are preserved. I can go reread them anytime I want.

Now I can get back to work with a clear conscience and a more compliant subconscious mind.

Writing is rewriting, and it sucks!!

Raked, bagged, deleted…

I have a short story I’m trying to submit for publication. I have submitted poetry and flashfiction before but never really anything longer and never without having a target publisher to focus on. For the first time I’m searching for a publisher of something already written. The piece is intended for older children, maybe middle grade. I don’t usually write for younger people, but this is a story I’ve had banging around for years and finally feel that it is complete.

My issue/complaint is the sesarch itself. I’ve been poking around on Submittable for a while, but now that I look closer, they really focus on contests, magazines, and anthologies. I’m not sure that is what I am seeking.

black and white bird on top of books

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I found a list from Authors Publish Magazine but most of them want hard copy submissions, which really surprised me. Isn’t this the 21st century? Whatever happened to working by email? They also frown on simultaneous submission. If you’re not familiar with that: it is when an author submits a manuscript to more than one publisher at the same time. It’s kind of a first-come first-served situation, but publishers don’t like it.

However, it can take 3 to 6 months to get a response from a publisher, if they send a response at all. Many only respond if they want the story. So, a writer would have to wait the six months before they can submit to another publisher. There are a LOT of outlets for stories out there. If a writer stuck to a single submission at a time, it could take years to find a publisher!

I refuse to work that way and will consider every submission to be simultaneous. I’m fishing for an outlet and want to contact as many as possible.

I have yet to actually submit, but am collecting some potential contacts.

Wish me Luck!!

Or send advice!