Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 19, 2012

Polish Editing and Potty Training

This month I’ve been neck-deep in revisions, trying to get my manuscript ready for the editor by August 1st. I added about 20,000 words to my middle grade WIP during “big picture” edits, and now am in the process of trying to pull out 12,000 to get my word count back to where it should be. (For the record, I’ve cut a little over 7,500 words so far.)

Some of those cuts have come in large swaths, where I deleted large amounts of words by restructuring a chapter or two. For example, it occurred to me suddenly that my entire first chapter was window-dressing. Aside from about 200 words, I didn’t need any of it. So I cut the entire chapter and moved the 200 words to other places in the book.

Unfortunately, most of my word-pulling has not been so effortless. And since I am a mom as well as a not-yet-published writer, this intense editing is not the only thing on my plate. My two-year-old announced this past weekend that she wanted to wear big girl panties. Great for her! Bad for me.

My productivity drops like a stone when escorting a toddler to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes.

But I found that potty training and this level of intense editing have a lot in common:

1. Both are painstaking processes. Often success seems almost impossible, but each small victory moves us one step closer. Toddler has a Potty Chart. I have an Editing Progress Chart. Hers has flower stickers. Mine has color-coded squares. It’s all good.

2. Both require constant concentration. Toddler has to pay attention to her body. I have to pay attention to every single word and see if it deserves to live.

3. Both are best accomplished by taking them in small increments. We set a timer for 30 minutes for Toddler. For 20 if she’s been drinking a lot. I focus on one chapter at a time. One paragraph if I’ve been drinking a lot. (For the record, I don’t drink.)

4. Both have their share of accidents. Toddler—well, you can guess. As for me—Did I really just delete half a chapter?!? UNDO! UNDO!

5. Both will be successfully accomplished. Toddler will eventually stay dry all day. I will get this manuscript polished and ready for the editor. I will likely reach my goal first, but I will not complain if Toddler beats me to it. 🙂

Working on two very intense yet completely different projects saps my energy, but I am managing to muddle through.

As long as I do not become potty-mouthed in my writing or try to delete my daughter, things will work out fine.

Oops, there’s the timer! (I feel positively Pavlovian.)

Advertisements

Responses

  1. On a high note, once your toddler is potty trained, that will free up some time for you to work on writing / editing. Editing is a slow slow process if it’s done right – I’ve found this out myself, working with an editor.
    Barbara of the Balloons

    Like

    • Yes, editing is sloooow! It only took a week to add in the big picture things I needed, but it’s been the better part of 3 weeks to get 2/3 through the book with the polish edits. But I’m on track to have it ready by Aug 1st, so that’s good! And once she’s potty trained, we will no longer have fights about changing her diaper – which will make the day more pleasant for both of us!

      Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: