Monday, January 31, 2011

Becoming Reacquainted

I opened my MS for the first time in 4 weeks yesterday. I know 4 weeks isn't that much time, but it felt like YEARS to me.

I was so scared and ridiculously nervous, unsure of what to expect.

It was weird, comforting, awkward and familiar all at once, if that makes sense.
Kind of like meeting up with your best friend after years of not talking. Knowing what's there (or what used to be there) at the core, but not sure in what other ways you may have changed.

Would we still like each other?

Would things be the same as before?

What needs to change NOW in order for us to get along?

My biggest fear though? Not liking it anymore. Because that's always my biggest fear. I don't want it to all be for nothing.

I was worried I would open it, read the first couple of pages, and wonder what the heck I was thinking. I only got about six pages in, and I am still undecided because my nerves haven't quite settled as yet.

I guess the thing is--just like with great friends--you don't let go that easily. You put in the extra effort to make it work. You hang on for dear life and try to make it better, even when it attempts to slip away.

Ultimately... YOU DON'T GIVE UP... even when it seems too hard. Even when it seems like it can't be fixed, make sure you put up a good fight - especially when it's to save something you believe in.

Because you know what? It's never all for nothing. You always learn. You always take away.

And you keep moving forward.

Have you guys ever felt this way after coming back to your MS after a long time? What did you do?


45 comments:

Jamie Grey said...

Ugh - I totally know how you feel! When I come back after a break, I always seem to hold my breath while getting through the first few chapters.

Most of the time I find it's not nearly as bad as I thought, though perhaps not as good as I expected. And then I get to work on fixing it.

But you're totally right - you don't give up. As long as there are words on the page you can fix them!

Good luck!

Tabitha Bird said...

yes! I always feel this way coming back to my MS to revise and edit. I have revised it 5 times now and it is never easy. But each time I have grown as a writer. all the best to you :)

Alleged Author said...

Isn't it weird to go back to the ms after a long time? Agents say that's the best thing to do because then you look at it with fresh eyes. But sometimes the experience is other-worldly!

Hanny said...

It's so amazing to re-visit something that we wrote and were so immersed in after a break. Fortunately, I normally like what I see, but that could just mean that I have lousy taste in writing:)

Tracey Neithercott said...

Yes, I felt that way on my current WIP. I spent a month away and was so worried I'd come back to it and hate it. Thankfully, I still liked it. It needs work, of course, but I still loved the story.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Yup, I get the same feeling. Funny, when I'm in a real writing streak, I sometimes get this feeling even when I've only been away from a MS for a few days. Good luck getting back into it:)

jbchicoine said...

I always end up seeing the good in what I've written, but I tend to look at it with suspicion, as if it's holding out, and I'm just not smart enough (or a good enough writer) to fix what's wrong with it. It ususally takes longer than a few weeks--more like a few months--to gain any objectivity...

So, keep up the fight!

Joanne said...

Any time I return to a manuscript, there's something that can be edited, improved, revised. Really it's an ongoing relationship that has a life of its own, and we just fall into the rhythm of working together. Good luck!

Saumya said...

Aw what a great analogy! I haven't taken a break from mine yet but I'm sure I'll feel the same way. Good luck with the editing!

Paula said...

I always have that same experience. Some things I like, others make me cringe. The hardest part is reading straight through to the end and making big picture observations notes to myself without doing little edits along the way.

Good luck!

Robert Guthrie said...

I'm a HUGE fan of taking breaks from a WIP. Going back to it, I find my attitude, my writing... everything is clearer and easier.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Frequently.

And time away is the best thing for you and your novel. If you still like what you've written, you're onto something. If you know what I mean? :)

Keep at it :)

The Red Angel said...

YES I totally know what you mean! I have a WIP that I have been struggling with for a while, but I've gone back to it a couple times and it was super awesome. It was like I'd never left in the first place! :)

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Colene Murphy said...

This almost made me choke up, I needed to read it so badly lately! Thank you!! (don't worry about your own. You will love it! If you don't HATE it already, you wont)

Melissa said...

I totally know what you mean. I love how you expressed all the feelings here. Seriously. I do.

Donea Lee said...

I love this - it's SO true! And, I've felt like this a lot, actually. Sadly, I do go back to my writing and kind of hate it. But, as you so eloquently wrote - like a great friend, you do what you can to make it always work and never give up. That's the approach I always try to take - make it work, make it work, make it work! Good luck with your MS - hope you two are still friends ~ :)

Missed Periods said...

I know exactly how you feel. I am rarely a procastinator, but revisiting a manuscript after a while definitely brings it out in me.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Always rewarding, this seeing it for the very first time. Best thing is, each visit shows you how you can improve it. Keep revisiting. Good Luck.

Tanya Reimer said...

For these reads, I put away the pen and enjoy the read. It's like sharing a story with a great friend, no comments. Then after I take it all in, I go back and rework it. Eventually, you can't rework it anymore, your friend has it's own life, and you have to start thinking about letting it meet new people.

Liza said...

Mine is "resting" right now too. I'm worried I will hate it...worried I'll be sick of it...and worried I won't know how to fix it.

Tamara Narayan said...

Timely post!

I have been trying, mostly in vain, to continue with my new manuscript started before Christmas. The holidays, numerous illnesses (the kid's, not mine) plus snow days and doctor appointments have all conspired to keep me from writing. Okay, I've also have to put the blame on myself for the jitters.

My problem seems to be a lack of confidence because I'm querying book number one (and getting those icky rejections) while trying to immerse myself in book number two. Plus it's set in 1858, so every word, every description takes a lot of planning. What was I thinking?

Anyhoo, the silver lining is that I love the pages produced so far even though they will be edited/deleted a million times before they're ready for other eyes.

One step at a time, but boy, this is slow. (And 14 inches of snow predicted over the next 24 hours! Ugh! It's a conspiracy!)

Janet Johnson said...

I'm the same way with my books . . . I'm just debating how radical I need to get with edits on one of mine. Thinking: "It's not you, it's me . . . really." Poor friend. ;)

Talli Roland said...

Yup - oh, yes, have I! The only to do is to draw a deep breath and move forward!

Katie Mills said...

FOUR WEEKS!!?? I admire your self control deary. I think two was my limit. I find now that I have a solid tactic for tackling revisions, I don't dread coming back to it after a break as much as I used to. Good luck!

Terri Tiffany said...

You did good staying away for four weeks. I made it two and now I am starting in. Yes, some parts I think why on earth did I write that?? Then hit delete and rewrote. But much of it I still like. You will too:)

Melissa Gill said...

I totally agree with you. I came back to mine after a month off and it was really hard. There were some parts of it that stank, and some parts that were pretty good. I've got a lot of work to do, but at least now I have a place to start.

Misha said...

Yes, but then I open up the first pages and fall in love again.

:-)

Margaret said...

What's the old saying? You're really never done writing? You just get so sick of a project that you put it out there? Something like that, but better and more pithy, and, clearly, written by someone willing to revise.

Margaret said...

What's the old saying? You're really never done writing? You just get so sick of a project that you put it out there? Something like that, but better and more pithy, and, clearly, written by someone willing to revise.

Jordyn said...

Yep. Every single time I either don't write for a while or I come back to revise a project after working on a different project... I always feel a bit unstable, like I'm standing on shaky ground when I start going. And it ALWAYS always takes a while (days? weeks?) for me to get back into it again.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never backed off that far, or at least far enough it felt odd.
Although if I were to go through my first book now it would feel really weird. Probably why I haven't done it!

Draven Ames said...

I can not wait to see my next novel. Each book, I'm hoping, will teach new things. This has been so fun. Hopefully you don't get so nervous next time. You've certainly shown you have the drive to write. With enough writing, you can make it. So you know you will be there if you are patient.

Good luck and great blog,

Draven Ames

The Las Vegas Writer said...

I'm in the distance part right now. The book is off to the BETA readers and I have a whole month to do other things besides write. I needed a break!

Stephen Tremp said...

Don that and enjoyed a fresh look at the MS. Cleaned up a few mistakes and plugged a lot of gaps with really cool twists and turns and other events that I probably would not have seen had I not taken the break. Godspeed to you!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, yeah, I've felt this way. Sometimes I just look at it and go, "Really? I wrote this?" UGH.

But ultimately, I'm not afraid of cutting, moving, pasting, fixing, and completely rewriting. So I just dive in, and after a little while we have a love-hate relationship. I'm cool with that.

Theresa Milstein said...

Good for you! Stephen King says to wait at least 3 weeks.

We're supposed to feel just like you do when we returns to our beloved WIPs. That's when phase 2 begins. Hang in there! Be brave!

Henya said...

I know the feeling. But sometimes we tend to be very critical of ourselves, see things others don't. But that what makes up for a writer. Stick with it...

Lynda Young said...

"It's never all for nothing." Oh so true! I have given up on two "almost" finished manuscripts, but neither were for nothing. They still live in a special place in my heart.

Jill Kemerer said...

Yep. It's scary getting to know each other again! But usually I find so much to like, I'm willing to forgive the things I don't. :)

L.A. Colvin said...

I'm in between right now too. I'm taking off some time before revision but have peeked at it a couple times. There are actually some scenes I didn't remember writing and some I thought looked like some dog vomited on teh page. Others are still as beautiful as I remember them. I'm nervous about revision but only because I'll see just how bad it is but I know there's nothing I can't fix in revision.

Lydia K said...

You perfectly described it!
Sometimes it's awful, but lately, coming back has been a good thing. That's a nice feeling.
:)

Claudia Del Balso said...

I love your analogy ;)
When I'm editing, I like to put my work aside for a while. When I come back to it, I see my story with new eyes. I am open to changes and like good old friends that haven't seen each other in a while, I embrace the changes.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement. Carole.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Its a feeling I can understand. Whenever I return to my MS after a short break, there is the initial awkwardness and hiccups. Slowly we start re- acquainting with each other. All the best with your MS.

alexia said...

Great post! You are right - best friends don't give up on each other. Whatever road lies ahead, you can do it!