Monday, April 14, 2008

Revision and the Art of Glazing Over

I'm currently revising my latest YA project, Royal Rose, with respect to characters and voice. I'm going over each and every word, figuring out if it does its job. If it does, it stays. If not, it has to be deleted or replaced with one that does. And let me yell ya, this is an eye-straining, glazing over, mind-numbing job. It's no wonder many writers don't make it through the many stages of polishing a manuscript, because this writing stuff is really hard!

I've figured out some steps that help refresh me, mind and body. So I thought I'd share.

1) Drink ice, cold water. I used to gravitate toward sugary snacks and caffeine, but then I'd have to deal with the "crash" a few hours later. But a glass of ice, cold water gives my body that temperature-related jolt, waking it up, with absolutely no after-effects (except the inevitable trip to the bathroom).
2) Get up to stretch your limbs. I'm one of those writers that, when I'm in the zone, will sit for several hours at a time. Sometimes eight or nine, if I have it. I need an alarm to tell me when it's time to pick up my kids. :) So I need to occasionally get up and walk around the room, just to keep from getting sleepy or stiff.
3) Breathe fresh air. Especially since the weather is improving, I've been doing this more often. I'm not sure what I'll do once it's warm enough to work outside because I'll already be in the fresh air. Or, maybe I'll just be invigorated all the time. Who knows!
4) Write longhand. Sometimes I need to set the computer aside and pick up paper and pen. Especially if I'm stuck. I dump everything in my head onto paper, then sort it out there. I also find it helps to switch from a computer screen to paper if my eyes are suffering from strain.
5) Eat a healthy snack. I've found that eating fresh fruits and vegetables keep me better hydrated than water, and keep my energy level up as well. My favorites are cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, grapes, and strawberries.

Anyway, this is what works for me. And it makes me wonder, what works for other people? So, if anyone is reading this, please share!

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