Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keeping Perspective

I took a little trip this weekend with my husband and five-year-old daughter. We stayed in a hotel on the 9th floor, and we got to take the elevator up. The kind with a glass back, so you can see out into the open central area of the hotel. Wasted space, for sure, but pretty awesome view.

Having 5-year-old with us changed everything. She was jumping-out-of-her-skin excited to be staying in a hotel. And Oh! The elevator! And it was so high! And then to glass wall in our room looking out over the city, and we could practically see everything from up there! We pulled out the couch bed and squee!! It's a couch! And it turns into a bed, and she got to sleep in it all on her own!! Plus she had her own tv! Then we ate breakfast there, and SO EXCITING! And look at all the blueberry muffins, and Wow! A waffle maker that turns over???

Everything was new and an adventure.

And her excitement was catching.

But let's imagine we stayed in this SUPER EXCITING hotel for a year. . . Yeah. Even for Girlie, the place would lose it's charm, its newness. It would not be the same.

Now imagine that we stayed the one night then when back home. And in a year, we spent the night at that hotel again. . . . WE'RE BACK! And remember the glass wall? The view from our room? And ohhh, the waffle maker!

This is the same with writing. First drafts are so cool. Everything is so exciting! And getting to the end of the story is an adventure. It's new, and fresh, and I just want to spend all my time with it.

But when it comes time to revise, I will lose the fresh perspective if I don't take some time away from it. It will become mundane. Same old. Hard to tell one chapter from the next. And didn't I like this once upon a time?

It's hard to put something aside. Especially something you love. But a little distance can go a long way in giving perspective. In remembering and rekindling the love we had for something.
Do you take time between drafts?


Dianne K. Salerni said...

I rarely have a love affair with my first draft, and I usually don't figure out how the whole story works together until I FINISH the first draft.

So, it's the second draft that I plunge into with SQUEEING excitement. I never wait. I finally know what I was supposed to be writing and I can't wait to make it all shiny.

But yeah, after that, breaks are helpful. And I find that "darlings" lose their luster over time, making it easier to cut them when you realize they don't need to be there.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Janet, long time no see! Glad to see Oscar the Grouch is still around.

Oh yeah I do take breaks from my writing. Sometimes a couple weeks at a time. Even my editor is taking a week or so away from his final edits to get one more chance at a fresh perspective.

Good luck to you!

Marcia said...

Yes, breaks really do work. The very best kind are ones that are long enough that your work can surprise you when you read it. As if you don't quite remember writing this. We can't always afford breaks that long, but even some distance helps.

MikeS said...

It has been almost a decade since my first draft.

Elana Johnson said...

What a great analogy. I definitely take time between drafts, and after a couple of times, I then send it to someone so they can see it with their new eyes too.