Monday, October 3, 2011

That New Story High

I know several of you love to work on more than one project at a time-- either writing one project while editing another, or writing multiple manuscripts at the same time.

I don't.

It's not that one way is better than another. It's more of a one-way-works-best-for-you-and-another-doesn't kind of thing. I tend to put all my focus into the book I'm writing, then decide what book I'm going to write next. While I'm editing the first book, the second book percolates. When I'm mostly through editing, I pour my focus into the next book.

I've been revising for MONTHS. I love revising. I really, really love it. Revising comes with its own special high, just knowing that your book is that much better than it was before you started the revision.

But amidst the revision highs, I had almost forgotten how sweet the NEW BOOK high is. That high when you wake up in the morning already thinking about it. That high when you figure out the next scene. That high when the writing just works. That high that comes from creating a slice of the world that hadn't existed and bringing to life people to populate it. That high from creating something out of nothing. Know what I mean?

Where are you? Living off a writing-induced high? Or looking longingly at the memory of it? Or, even better, I'd imagine, living off dual editing and drafting highs? Gosh, I hope you've got either a writing high or a revising high going on, because there's just nothing quite like it.

30 comments:

Jessie Humphries said...

I am actually in a drafting low, looking for my next hit to get me high. Why am I taking this analogy to a creepy street drug theme?

DRC said...

I'm exactly like you. I prefer to to concentrate on one book at a time. However, recent months has been an exception. I do have two on the go, but my original has been put on hold until I finish the second, and I have a deadline too. I have just over a month to finish it and edit it, so if you could pass your highs this way it would be much appreciated, thanks... :D

Ruth Josse said...

I'm on a, just-finish-the-dang-thing-already low. Not a good place to be.

Enjoy your new high!

prerna pickett said...

I'm about to enter a new high! A new project is on the way, and that is exciting.

Shilpa said...

Hello Peggy, so glad to be reading your blog again! Great post...

Cristina said...

oh, how I wish I was high right now.. HA!... maybe you can send me a cookie and I can at least be on a sugar high :)

I'm kind of in between.. somedays I'm high, somedays, not so much... ugh..

I'm glad you are in a happy place with your writing.. I love that happy place

E.R. King said...

I can't do more than one book at a time either, which means I, too, get bogged down in the revisions run. But when I get to the other end, nothing is sweeter than knowing I get to take on a new project. It's my reward for finishing!

Tanya Reimer said...

LOL! I LOVE this post! Nice to see others who get an adrenalin rush from their writing! I love working on two pieces or more at a time. I take inspiration when it hits. Of course, when a MS is ready to go out, that is an entirely different rush of emotions! AHHH!

Francesca Zappia said...

I feel like I'm always waiting for the next writing high, whether it's from a new idea or just a new spin I can put on something I'm already working on. But I always ALWAYS work better with an inspirational high. I can plow through a good 30k in three days with a single high. And when I'm in a low spot, I trickle on 500 words a day or so. (Like I'm doing right now. >.<)

David Powers King said...

Don't you just love that high? :)

I'm trying to tackle two stories right now. One is based completely on already gathered knowledge or exposure, while the other is heavy on research. I research one while I write the other. Hopefully the research will be enough by the time the next novel is done.

Loved your thoughts on the matter!

Jenny S. Morris said...

I am in new book high, since revising at the moment is in small increments. Not quite giving me a high.

Iain said...

Ooh, that's a bit freaky. I'd just finished drafting an entry about the mixed emotions I'm having with my edit.
To re-cap, I'm a bit daunted by the work ahead, but pleased that I have learnt enough that I can see what's wrong.
In answer to your question posed in your entry, I'm an edit one, write another at the same time, person. I tend to have different heads on at different times of the day. So, apart from the edit mentioned above, I'm also formulating a new plot for a sequel, and that's quite exciting when I find new twists to put into it.
Can't wait to hear about the new plot, and how you get on with the queries on the finished MS.

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm with you. I can only have one Master, and I'm totally on a high right now, I hope it lasts!

Tara Tyler said...

nice to meet you, boat mate =)

WilyBCool said...

I have yet to start my first one. I am gathering and organizing. May take a while, I can't wait!

Barbara Kloss said...

I LOVE the new story high! Even though it frustrates me SO much sometimes that all I want to do is throw my computer at a wall and be done with it.

I'm like you. One story at a time. I tried to work on another one, but the the prior kept bludgeoning me in the head. (still have a bump)

Susan Kane said...

Yes, I know what you mean!! I already have an outline for the next book. But, I am in the middle of editing and revising the current book. Unlike you, I find myself comparing the editing to 'combing for lice nits'; as a former teacher, I found this to be a common occurrence at elem. level.

Abby said...

I just adore you! You always have such a positive, fun way of looking at things. I don't know about the revising high - I haven't got there yet. In fact, I've been dreading it. But this makes me feel so much better about it! I am currently at the writing high and I love it!

M Pax said...

Yay on starting a new work.

I'm doing both - revising one while writing ... two new ones.

This working for yourself thing sort of helps with the multi-tasking.

Jeff King said...

I got to give you my manuscript to revise… I hate revising. It’s not a high it’s a low. Composing is a high for sure, and the only reason I spend the time revising; is because I owe it to whomever reads my work.

Making the story shine is what makes a piece of work stand apart. You can’t expect to succeed if you don’t revise your work to perfection.

I just wish I shared your attitude.

Alleged Author said...

I'll take a new book high any day. There's something magical when you begin those first few pages of a WIP.

Richard said...

I'm in the revising mode right now. I don't think of it as a high, although I do have momentary highs, I suppose, but it's mostly a feeling of satisfaction. The high from starting a new project is a different matter altogether. Now that's a high.

Carrie Butler said...

I'm wandering around Revision Valley, at the moment. It's dark here. :|

Enjoy that writing high for me! ;)

Alexis Bass Writes said...

I’m so addicted to the ‘new idea high’ that I’m almost ALWAYS drafting, even if I’m revising. Although sometimes there’s only enough time for the revising, but knowing I’ll get to entertain the new idea soon keeps me motivated 

Lan said...

I thought I was the only one who got the new book high! Although I can't say revising does the same thing for me. I'm more of a starter rather than a finisher which is a bit of a problem now that I think about it. What I love the most is that the new book high can last for ages as it turns into the 'finishing the next chapter' high and the 'figuring out a plot twist' high. Writing is just awesome all around!

Maeve Frazier said...

Great post! I love that writing high! I just watch out for the banana peels when landing. Just kidding. I am in the stages of revisions. That's my banana peel.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Jessie-- Yep. We are always looking for the next hit that's going to make us high. Creepy drug user. ;)

DRC-- A month to finish drafting and edit? Holy cow. I'll definitely send all the drafting and revising highs your direction that I can. Good luck!

Ruth-- :( I hope you get past it soon!

Prerna-- Aaaa! I'm so excited for you! That's the best.

Shilpa-- Thanks! So glad to see you again!

Cristina-- If you can't get a writing high, a sugar high is the next best thing! At least for a little while on the not so high days. :)

E.R.-- That's what I do-- reward myself with the new book once I've finally gotten to the end of revisions. It's such a fabulous reward, too!

Tanya-- I take it you have an ms ready to go out? If so, best of luck!

Francesca-- Wow! 30,000 words in three days? I hope you get past your low soon, because dang your highs are impressive!

David-- It's the best! I like the thought of researching a research-heavy book while writing one that's not.

Jenny-- I totally agree- sometimes you've got to take on the thing that's going to give you the high, just to propel you through the things that don't so much.

Iain-- I think a lot of people edit one while drafting another. It must be a really great way to do it. Best of luck with both!

J.A.-- Yes! That's totally it for me! I can only have one master. I hope your high lasts you months. :)

Tara-- Yay! I love having people in my boat! (You do know how to steer this thing, right?)

Wily-- It can take a long time. The more prep you do ahead of time, though, the better it goes!

Barbara-- Hahaha! Yes, I understand the bludgeoning. I hope your bump heals soon. :)

Susan-- Hahahaha- combing for lice nits! I hope for your sake that metaphor didn't come from personal experience with your students.

Abby-- Awww! I love you! And don't dread the revising. It truly does come with its own high. It rocks!

M-- Revising one while writing TWO? Wow! I'd love to be inside your brain while you get inspiration for three. :)

Jeff-- I'll admit- revising can be daunting. But it's like tomatoes. I HATED them. One day, I decided that I wanted to love them, though, so I ate one every chance I got until I did love them. It didn't take as long as I thought it would. Just keep telling yourself that revising is the greatest thing on earth, and you'll get there before you know it. :)

Alleged-- Yep! I agree- magical.

Richard-- The revising is definitely a satisfaction high. Nothing like a new book high, certainly, but still a high. :)

Carrie-- I'm not going to say "Come into the light!" because revising is WHERE IT'S AT. But here. Take this flashlight. It's really bright.

Alexis-- Addicted to the high. I love it!

Lan-- Yes! The 'finishing the next chapter' high and the 'figuring out a plot twist' high! Those are fabulous! I agree. Writing is awesome all around.

Maeve-- Hahaha! Banana peels. I definitely think I've landed on a few of those. Good luck with your revisions!

elizabethreinhardt said...

I work on three things a day. I'm always in the first half of something new, the second half of something new-ish, and the editing phase of something older. I give myself times I absolutely have to type, and let myself switch between the three. It always works well, because once I get stuck on one, I flip to another!

Paul Tobin said...

I get that high with a new poem, the idea comes from somehwere and there you are shaping clouds/smoke/the insubstantial-call it what you will, into a form on the page, part of me is in wonder at what will form and where it comes from.
I was at creative writing class last night and the tutor was talking about an author-she could not remember whom, saying that they know they have a new novel forming as they can feel this shape around them that slowly forms into a story. I can agree with that. however once it is on the page then you have to work to make sense of it to shape it into a form that will stand on its own two feet. I wrote a novel last year and the revisions took ages, I then put it away, now I am thinking it deserves another look and I know I will rewrite it. But if we did not ploish, we would never see our reflection.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Elizabeth-- Wow! That's amazing! It sounds like a really great plan. Hmm. I wonder if I could convince my brain to work like that...

Paul-- I love that! A story can totally form around us, strong enough to almost feel, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be polished after!