On Writing || How (Not) to Write or Edit a Chapter


It’s time. You’ve been putting it off for two months, but even you, a happy procrastinator, have to admit it’s getting ridiculous. Yes, this chapter was not in the original outline. Yes, you don’t have a solid idea for this chapter. And yes, the story needs this chapter to make it work better. You’ve tried to convince yourself otherwise, but your editor suggested it and you know they’re right.

So, you set a day to devote to it.

You also decide to go get new tires that day.

It’ll only take an hour (or two.) Yes, last time it took six hours, but you’ll get there first thing and be home before noon. From lunch onward will totally be dedicated to writing this chapter.

You get home at 1:30pm. So half the day is gone, but most of the afternoon and all evening await.

But first you set up the new Comcast box that arrived yesterday. You accidentally completely disconnect the wifi box instead of the cable box, and then somehow manage to lose the power cord. It is naturally right in front of your face and success! The tv works again. As does the wifi. Now on to laundry.

It is now 2:30. The story is wondering what happened to your plans. You reassure it, then take the dog on a walk. It’s finally warm again and you both need to exercise. Exercise is good for the brain, right? The chapter will be toast when you get back.

After you get back, you grab some tea (which will surely anchor you to the laptop) and clean off your desk, because you can’t focus with all that clutter. And while you’re at it, you might as well pick up the pile of clothes, too. Oh, and clean the bathroom.

3:30 has arrived. You wonder where the day has gone. Feeling guilty, you finally sit down at the laptop with lukewarm tea and type out the chapter. It is sad and pathetic and you don’t see how it will ever become what it needs to be, but it’s there. This is something to be celebrated. And while you’re being all productive and more-or-less inspired, you decide to edit the chapters that aren’t as cringe-worthy but still need some care.

It only takes half an hour or so, but the rug is vacuumed and the dog is groomed. Look at all you’ve accomplished today. The editing you’re going to do will just be an added bonus. Think of how good you’ll feel about the story come bedtime.

5:30. Dinner consists of yummy tuna (the dog does a happy dance at the fish juice about to grace his food) and then you find yourself back at the laptop. Time to edit.

But first, a blog post.


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