The Garage is the Man's Domain at our house. That means when we moved in here three years ago, I shut that door and didn't look at it again.
I had to find a crate for Bob last week. The Hubster insisted that he could find what I wanted without my help. When he couldn't, I trudged out there myself with him hot on my heels telling me to just go buy a new on. As I thrust the garage door up and open, I was horrified at the sight.
It looked like a bomb had gone off (see above, but picture all of that covered with dust and cobwebs because someone, ahem, did SEAL the garage off like I asked as well). I felt my energy drain just looking at the overwhelming project. I wanted a crate, but now I have an entire garage that needs organizing again. Where do I even start?
Are you crying? he asked me. I wiped the tears, swallowed the panic and started divising a plan. Looking at it as a whole was far too much for my brain to comprehend. I couldn't imagine adding the clean up and organization to my already full plate. I mean, we're talking renting a shop vac, buying a heavy duty mop, getting my gardening gloves out (there be black widows in them boxes, loves)...not to mention all the supplies I would need to buy - more clear plastic bins (Cost Co), labels for the label maker (Target), shelving (Home Depot). The list started piling up so I shut down.
It reminded me of the first time I sat down (come on, you knew this was coming!) with my full manuscript to start revisions. Those 321 pages seemed so overwhelming that my brain shut off. I got up and did the dishes, the laundry, vacuumed and then ran a few errands. When I finished all that, it was time to make dinner. There went my day and no rewriting was accomplished.
I sat down to it the next morning...and it went much the same. For probably two weeks I had that problem. Overload. Too much to do and where to start?
Finally, after reading all the advice out there on how to tackle rewrites, I realized that you just have to do it. Just start. Anywhere. You find what works for you. I dug in to my first 100 or so pages and started revising. And you know what? It wasn't bad! I didn't get lost in the pages. I got lost in the story, which guided me through the rewrites! I started with one small part and just worked my way through it.
The garage can't be any different! Taking a deep breath, I thought - one thing at a time. I started with the piles of EMPTY boxes from every new item that has entered the house these past three years. (Why do you men keep empty boxes???) Grabbed the box cutter and went to town. Quite theraputic, actually. Slash, slash, slash. In the recycle bin they went.
I'm chunking the garage like I did my WIP. Taking it bit by by, starting with the empty boxes or the first 100 pages, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. In fact, when I finish that part, it feels like a big accomplishment! I often find that when I just MAKE myself do it, everything starts to flow. Those boxes took 30 minutes of slicing and dicing. That first 100 or so pages took me a week. See? Not so terrible after all!
Soon my garage will look like this:
Neat and tidy, just like my manuscript.
What about you - does rewriting seem overwhelming? Where do you start?
I have an interview with Melissa Wideen from Through the Looking Glass over on our Paws and Learn blog. It's all about her gorgeous cat, Mia. Stop on by and give it a read when you have a moment and let her know how cute that cat is. Mia loves the attention!
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