Progress Report

After my "woe is me" post yesterday, many of you said "Well, at least you can still write!" Indeed, I can, and indeed I am. I've finally found an editing/revision method that's working for me and in the last couple of weeks I've made slow but steady progress.

But first, I forgot to post this yesterday:

Holly_knee copy

Just in case you've never seen the inside of my knee before.

Now back to progress. My daily routine is simple. Every day I print out the next chapter that needs work. First thing I do is read it all the way through, trying not to edit as I do this so I can get an idea of what the chapter is about and how it fits with previous chapters. Next, I read it with my red pen in hand and make all the changes I think it needs. I usually have my trusty yellow legal pad next to me so I can write detailed notes or even re-write passages if I need to. This, obviously, is the longest part of the process, and while I try to get at least one chapter done a day if there is serious re-writing that needs doing sometimes that doesn't happen. The final step is to go back to my manuscript and make the changes. There's usually some re-writing that goes on during this step as well but it's generally just tweaking.

I now have just over a third of a polished novel I wouldn't mind showing to someone besides Stella and Stuart. Although Stella does like sinking her teeth into a good historical once in awhile. And by "polished" I don't mean "finished." I simply mean it's gone through it's first pass and I'm ready to let people read it. And by "people" I mean Mick.

Folks, it's been almost a year since I finished my first draft, and believe me, I'm well-aware I am going slow. But I try to tell myself this is my first novel. I'm learning. At the same time I can't cut myself too much slack or else this will never get done. So I generally give myself foot rubs in between floggings.

I know this is my blog but let's turn the floor over to you. What are you working on? Summer is coming, do you have any projects in mind? C'mon, I really want to know.

Holly West

6 Comments

  1. I don’t think it’s going slow at all! I think you’re doing amazing and you have a lot to be proud of.
    Personally, I have a hard time letting John edit my work. I think I take it all personally and just like to think of myself as perfect. To have others point out my flaws is something I’m always working on! Hahah.
    This summer I’m taking 2 classes, and TAing for my psych professor who I adore (but not like that.) So my summer project is… me! Trying to get my transfer to UC Davis as fast as possible. I’ll also still be eating healthy and getting in my daily exercise, so that’s another project.
    Your daily work schedule shows a lot of discipline and tenacity. Your book will be amazing!

  2. I totally hear you about taking the criticism personally, especially from your spouse. But early on I knew Mick would be an honest and helpful pair of eyes for my book and thus far he’s given some great advice/edits. I’m comfortable at this point with him being my first set of eyes as long as I keep telling myself he’s just doing his job when he hands me a piece of paper marked up with red ink.
    Eventually Fallon will have to show someone his book if he wants to get it published–do you think he’ll be cool with criticism?
    Love your summer goals!

  3. I’m copying you, as usual, and writing a novel too. I didn’t plan on that happening, it just sort of evolved. I’m nowhere near being done with a first draft, but my goal is to write at least 3 pages a week. I really want to read what you’ve written so far. Once I get done with my second chapter I’ll let you read mine to see what you think.

  4. Hmm…well, besides copious amounts of pool-floating, I still plan on tackling my YA novel and I’d like to get back into yoga and explore pilates. There’s always the garden…tomatoes, herbs and trying out strawberries right now.
    I’m also working on “myself” in general….that’s multi-faceted. And I want Alex and I to take some great trips this summer…we want to try our first ever WITH the dogs. Maybe a little town called Cayucos near San Luis Obispo.
    And I should cook more and pick up the damn guitar.

  5. Traveling w/ pooches is a little less relaxing than going alone, but for me, it’s a lot more fun (Mick thinks otherwise). But I miss my dogs terribly when I travel and if I can take them with me, it’s a bonus.

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