Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Longhand, short attention span

Minimal progress this morning. The problem is that because the work I'm doing is on the computer, I succumbed to the temptation of a work-related email, which ate up a lot of my fresh-in-the-morning energy. Stupid.

Another problem once I got started, seemingly unrelated, is the temptation to patch up the section I'm working on instead of rewriting it. This is the rewrite of Ch 1-4, starting with the opening pages of course. What I have is very strong in the context of what it's doing, but I have to take it another direction. And in so doing, while working on the computer with the file of existing material, I keep trying to make use of bits and pieces of what's already there. Partly because I don't want to waste it and partly on the assumption that it will be less time consuming than writing new from the beginning.

As a result, I'm not really in the proper creative frame of mind. It's more a mechanical way of looking at things. And it yields misshappen fruit, so I start to get turned off by it.

So I'm thinking . . . maybe I should be working in longhand at this stage. That would definitely be better for the problem of getting distracted by email. And it might be better for the second problem. What if I just literally rewrite this section on blank paper without reference to the existing work? I haven't done that before because it sounds scary -- It's putting myself back at the beginning; it feels like a defeat; it feels like no progress; it feels like a waste of what I have; it feels inefficient.

But really it might be more efficient. I'm just talking about a few pages. Just inventing it from scratch might be less time consuming than trying to patch things together. And it's probably more . . . authentic. Or honest. More aligned with what the work needs. It needs to become what it should be, and paying attention so much to what it already has been is probably a drag on that process. Writing longhand again would be a way to cut the tie. Instead of working with the existing material in front of me, I'll rely on my memory of it--or better yet, on my wish for what it was.

Just for a few pages. Even if I end up writing nearly the same paragraphs in parts, with the same metaphors and imagery and jokes, they should come in on point better, with better flow. And the new material should be more in the right voice instead of having that patchy quality.

I'm going to try that again fresh tomorrow morning. Strange to be struggling over the opening pages like this so late in the process, but I suppose it makes sense.

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