Sunday, October 4, 2015

Write with passion, edit cold.

It is sometimes a bit daunting to jump into writing. Some days, I spend my time looking at cat videos, drinking coffee, and feeling like I've lost something vital because I can't manage to put words to the page. Other days, I feel like a god. Words reel out like silk and every one is driven with an edge of madness. Those days where writing is a heady experience are kind of addictive, to be honest.

After a day or an hour of writing in that state, I find myself tempted to rush off to publish. I am excited and convinced that what I have written is solid gold. That drunken state of giddiness is not the right one to be in when I'm looking over my work when the first draft is finished. It is good to write with that mad fever of euphoria. It makes the writing time fly by and I feel fantastic after I have done so. It is like a wee touch of mania, with out the urge to clean everything in the house or follow some wild idea to do something like start up a business. (My hypomanic episodes pretty much manifest with something along those lines every time. And I can't sit still and focus long enough to write.)

But I can't let that kind of high get in my way after the first draft is done. If writing with passion is a necessity, then editing with a complete lack of emotion may be one as well. When I don't hang my heart on a character or a scene, I find myself able to edit more efficiently. I can dissect my prose and trim away that which is unnecessary. The ability to rip apart something that I have written comes to me far better when I am calm, if not indifferent to the work.

Some times, I feel like when I am in the editing process that I have divorced myself from the source of my inspiration. It is not the case, but when I have no emotion as I work, I feel queerly disconnected. But, in that dispassionate state, I am more likely to catch errors, notice missing scenes, and spot when I have switched up names. I don't read the work as I thought it should be. I read it as it is. And that, my friends, is the key to good editing.

Write with frenzy, fury, and madness. Pour your very soul into your work with the intoxication that comes with the inspiration. But, when it is finished, cut and trim with a heart of stone. Work with out emotional ties to the outcome. Because that is where you find that which is the heart of your story and free it from the confines of error.

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