Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Art of Procrastination

It's bad when I'm seriously considering housework over writing.

This is what editing does to me.

Don't get me wrong, I can do it. I'm disciplined enough these days that I can come home after a full day's paying-work, open the laptop, and, ignoring all objections, sit and bloody well hash out a few thousand words. And then I can take a day or so away from them, come back, read them over, and fix the bits that don't work. I can do this even when my inner 2-year-old is moaning and whining and stomping her feet because she doesn't wanna. But for some reason, editing to someone else's notes is just... terrifying.

Why this should be, I'm not entirely clear. The two readers I'm working with at the moment are fantastic: generous, intelligent, knowledgeable, and very clear, and they've given up hours of their life to do me what amounts to the biggest favour I've ever asked. They've actually reinforced my self-belief in a lot of ways, because they've been kind enough to be very positive about the book. Maybe it's because, in order to write, one has to believe that one's work is, essentially, transmitting itself fully-formed to its readership and suggestions for improvement knock that one right out of the water. It's not that I think my novel is perfect - far from it; I can't read over a sentence of the damn thing without wanting to pull it to pieces - it's more that the natural instinct of a writer is to secretly suspect that everything they create is crap, and a beta-read that's doing its job is going to gently encourage that part of the writerly psyche to throw a party.

Or maybe it's just me. I don't know, I'm blatantly procrastinating here so that I don't have to do my edits. Or my laundry.

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