I’m a fast writer. When I finally decided to sit down and write this novel, it was mid-August. I had the first draft essentially finished by early October; only a series of really busy days strung out the end of the final chapter for another week. During that time, I had a constant flow of words pouring out of my hands; that’s how it is when I really get in a groove. Oh, and I did this will still handling my 50-plus-hours-per-week job, and helping my wife taking care of a 1-year-old.
Editing, though, isn’t nearly as fast.
First of all, I knew I had a lot of corrections to go back and make. This is in part because when I started writing, I really didn’t know where I was going to end up. I hadn’t decided how I was going to fill the middle two-thirds of the book until I’d already written about four chapters. Of course, what I settled on is what established the theme for the entire book; it would help if the beginning of the book reflected that somehow, no?
The other thing was, I realized as I was writing that there were contradictions I’d have to go back and fix. I also knew that if I stopped to fix them as I thought of them, I’d get so bogged down in those corrections that I’d never finish the story. Better to go back and make the corrections later, and with fresh eyes, to boot.
And that, folks, is taking time. In a month, I’ve managed to go back over the first seven chapters (out of 28). This is somewhat because I just haven’t been able to scrape together the free time like I was able to in August and September. But it’s also because the act of editing isn’t nearly as automatic as the writing itself. It’s a slower, more tedious process, even moreso because of the scope of this project.
Not that this is a tremendous shock to me. I’m a journalist, so I’m used to reviewing my own copy. And I’m an editor, so I’m used to trying to step back and give something an objective read.
I guess, though, that when I started writing, my goal was to have a first draft done by Christmas. When I had it done by Halloween with weeks to spare, I got greedy; I decided I wanted to have it fully edited by Christmas instead. And that might be a pipe dream; besides family visits and the like, I have a fair number of events in December for organizations I belong to that will keep me out late. Add in a vacation (during which I’m leaving town, so no working then!), and my Christmas deadline probably isn’t realistic.
Particularly since I only just finished Chapter 7. 🙂
Oh, well. The deadline is my motivation, but nobody else cares when it’s actually done. So I’ll shoot for it, but I guess it’s more important to do a good job, in this case, than to beat a deadline nobody else cares about.