Monday, January 31, 2011

Rewrite Euphoria aka The Writer's High

A lot of writers don't like the rewrite process. It's not as creative as that first draft when everything is flowing, including great little nuggets that seem cool at the time but no sense with the story (how many times have you said to yourself, "I'll come back to that later"??).

You stare down at that HUGE manuscript that seems to have multiplied in pages now that you have to edit the thing and think "now WHAT?"

You do what you do best - avoid. You clean the house. You run every errand you can think of, including ones that have been on the list for two years. Suddenly, that closet in the guest room that you haven't organized in three years seems to bug you so much that you must do it NOW. You go have lunch with the friends you've been putting off for the last few months as you finish your book. You take the dog on all those fun adventures you've been wanting to do but didn't have time.

Then, that feeling sets in - you haven't written in a week or two or five. You start to get antsy. Your chest is tight. You need to create. Briefly, you're tempted to chase that shiny new idea. But you don't. You force yourself to sit down with your colored post-its and your favorite pen. You sit. And you sit. And you sit. And then the phone rings so you have an excuse to get up.

I forgot to bring a book to school last week when I was teaching. Best. Thing. Ever. I had one scrap of paper - my schedule of classes. I flipped it over and did some sketching. Redesigning. I remembered why I love rewriting so much. It's every bit as creative as that first draft. I rolled up my sleeves and got muddy like a five year old in a puddle.

And it worked. Like, really worked. Everything flows now in the story. Scenes have been moved around, forward, deleted. There is nothing hitting that moment where it all comes together. Rewrite euphoria. The Writer's High.

I was going on less than five hours sleep and I could not wait to get home. I was actually irritated that I had to run a real errand on the way (Lily has to eat, you know). When I sat down to my computer, it felt like I had slept ten hours! My fingers flew across the keyboard. They've been flying ever since! Who needs sleep?

Now, the laundry has piled up again. Cupboards are bare. The dog is wondering what happened to all that fun hiking that she got to do with Mom the last few weeks. That five pounds I lost is finding it's way back to me. But I don't care. I'm on that writer's high!

What about you - have you had a dose of that Writer's High? That Rewrite Euphoria?


  1. I have a rather love/hate relationship with the rewrite process. Sometimes I love the idea of taking the story in a new direction. Others, I don't like changing what I already believe works.

  2. I can go either way on the rewrite process. It feels good to fix things and make it better, but sometimes it can be so daunting.

  3. I’m glad you got your writer’s high. Aren’t they fun! I had that last week after suffering a writer’s block for the last couple of months.

  4. I need that boost right now! So glad you got what you needed and you are back to busting out some awesome!

  5. I enjoy writing and editing. Got on a roll this weekend and got all the way through my manuscript with edits. (Think I'm on round ten right now.)

  6. This post is so spot on, it's scary. I've been avoiding my rewrites as much as possible the last few weeks, but I've started now, and I'm definitely feeling that rewrite euphoria! It's really not so frightening once you make yourself do it :)

  7. Yay for rewriting high! Glad you're on a roll, why are you stopping to blog?! ;)

    I'm currently in the rewriting stage. I have writer highs where I'm on a roll and then lows where I avoid my story like it's the plague.

    BTW, I love the new blog layout! Or, is it not that old and I just made it totally obvious I haven't stopped by in a while?... :)

  8. That's great! Good for you (har, and I LOVE that little girl photo!). Gorgeous design on the blog too!

  9. That's awesome that you are being so productive again. Very good. And writer's high... I miss you! I really want to dive into my own edits. I'm just struggling with everything else going on! (Mostly that means school)