Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Editing Lag

I think it's time to coin a term.

It is probably intuitive what this is, but let me e'splain. When a writer, used to a certain zone, travels to the zone three (or more) right of writing on the map... the zone known as EDITING, it is hard to get used to at first, but in reality, this zone allows said writer to run though maybe twice, three times, even quadruple the number of words per day than one can achieve in WRITING. The longer one SPENDS in EDITING, the more this comes to feel okay... like maybe it was meant to be... a person might spend maybe two, three... six edits there before deciding it's time to go home.

But when it IS time to go back to writing, there is a problem...
The brain is still on EDITING time. You see, what you didn't NOTICE in editing time is some 80% of the WORDS were ALREADY THERE! And NOW the moving of old words piece goes away (as there ARE no old words) and the writing comes at the pace of new words achieved during EDITING.

Lets do some math!!!


If you EDIT at 3X the pace of writing and you used to WRITE 1000 words a day...

3 X 1000 = 3000

(you with me?)

Now of the 3000 words a day you get through, 20% are NEW...

3000 X 20% = 600

So NOW, after that visit to EDITING land you are suddenly only able to write 60% of what you could BEFORE that visiting!



So that's what I have. EDITING Lag.


So what am I Lagging On?

I've started my 2nd Gardening Themed Cozy Mystery. And my ideas are good. I like my ideas. But getting traction... man, I haven't had trouble catching air like this since my very first book (and this is #9). BUT, this is my only time I've edited 3 books for a total of 6 drafts since the LAST freaking book I wrote.) That said, I am finishing my 3rd chapter and they are running about 2500 words a chapter, so I am maybe 10% in. The PACE... 10% in a week... puts me at a 10 weeks to the end rather than 6-8 weeks to the end, but I have plenty of time. The only interference is I won't get to do NaNoEdMo, as I will still be writing, and this time for deadline.

It doesn't seem to matter what I do... permission to write crap... plotting ahead... I've got all my pieces... it just. Is. Going. Slow.


And... Weight Loss Wednesday...

I am giving myself a solid B- this week. I totally got back on the exercise wagon, so bully there! And I've not had any SNACKS except one starving night I opted for some almonds. My trouble is my permission on cocktails and the news of passing to next stage of ABNA last Thursday, which made for a 4 day weekend type thing, celebration wise. My food was never over points, but the cocktails pushed me over all 4 of those days... The weigh in will determine if the exercise made up for that or not.

So there we have it. Happy Hing Day Bloggie Friends!

33 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

My writing lag is based on dog years I think! Just do your best each day. Sometimes Ernest Hemingway could only write 450 words a day. But they were 450 he was proud of. Have a great day today, Roland

Misha said...

Yikes. I hope that my editing doesn't slow my writing too much.

Good luck with your new WiP.

:-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I couldn't think it through as well as you did, but I was thinking something along these lines yesterday. I spent about 1 1/2 hours on editing and got rid of many more words than I added. I think it does make me write slower on the other project I'm working on at the same time. Hm.

Al said...

My lag while editing and formatting Veiled in Shadows pretty much stopped Veiled in Storms dead for months at a time!

Hart Johnson said...

Roland *snort* Dog years... And when I force them out, I am generally not as happy with the outcome as when they flow... that is probably just that I've failed to find my oblivion zone, of course...

Misha-a single round of editing has never taken this long to recover from... maybe it depends how long you spend doing it. Thanks!

Elizabeth-are you editing as you go?! Eeek! I can't do that unless there is a section that sent me off in the wrong direction, but yeah, I've had editing days I lost words, too--though all my books that have now had thorough edits have gained words in the end.

Al-yeah, my brain won't let me do both at once. I totally have to set aside the WiP...

youngbloodblog said...

what Eliz said -- losing more words than gaining -- I started to say it has something to do with brain hemispheres, but… since writing and editing are both left-brain activities, I can only think it's the more world-domination (naked) part that gets to be boss temporarily and the other part doesn't like it (the stripping!) - enough to sabotage the stripper completely... or something

Hannah Kincade said...

Ugh you're not making me look forward to editing my ms when I'm done. Not. At. All. Why you do that? ;P

Cruella Collett said...

Happy hing day ;)

Katie Mills said...

I'm in one hell of a writing slump too but it isn't due to editing. I gave up editing my first two books and only learned to really revise and edit with my third. I feel like it's in a good place now and I'm ready to start a fourth book with hopefully less faux pas but I'm stalling. And stalling. and stalling. I dunno why! I have stage fright. B-! That's not so bad! Keep at it girl!

Simon C. Larter said...

Yeah...I'm only now hitting the writing stride, with approx. 1,000 words a day. I need to up that a bit, if I'm to finish the current novella project by the end of March. (Well, the 1st draft, anyway.)

God only knows what's going to happen once I start editing for serious. But at least I know I'll be able to modify my expectations on the word progress. *sigh*

Is it time for cocktails again yet?

Ciara said...

Happy hing day! I so get the writing lag. I tend to write/edit/plot three different projects. It helps keep me focused and all skills sharp. :)

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

As you know my internal editor has been a problem child for me. It was all the critques I was doing at the time that made writing SLOW and then I had to edit my own stuff. Well, now, although I still internally edit the pacing is much faster. I send of rough copies to my crit partner and let her figure out the simple problems and then I just move on. I think I finaly figured out a good balance between editing and just writing.
Hope you come out of the lag! Happy Hing Day!

Old Kitty said...

Erm...

Yay for your writing plus editing divided by weight plan B+++!! All equals NAKED to the power of 1 million!!

take care
x

Hart Johnson said...

Marian, it's definitely a different process, I think. Editing is more analytical and I have to stay present, where writing I actually have to step aside and let it flow.

Hannah--yeah, sorry to be a big ugly reality check...

Cruella-you, too, oh Hingstress on high!

Katie-URGH! Not stage fright! And my early ones sat for several books before I learned... first one still isn't edited... funny how much we didn't know we didn't know! Good luck!

Simon, I figure it's always time for cocktails somewhere! And well done for hitting that 1000 word stride. I know my earlier stuff was slower. Now, I can actually do about 1500 without straining if I'm not... you know... straining...

Ciara--there HAS to be a word that is the writing equivalent of ambidextrous for that. I totally can't do that... at ALL. I can plot, I guess, with either... I often plot a little to appease myself when I WANT to write but am stuck editing. but the writing and editing are INCOMPATIBLE!

Erica--yay for balance! Tell it hello. I miss it.

Jenny-there we go--look at the overall GPA!

Carol Kilgore said...

I never analyzed this like you did, but it always happens to me, too. Eventually I work back up, but in the beginning I'm always like 'what the BLANK is going on'.

Diana said...

I blame blogging for my writing and editing lag. I just starting the blog bidness and it took awhile to figure out what I'm doing. I'm also struggling with genre, trying to find out where I belong. Or...I'm just a whiner.

Colene Murphy said...

Wow. That is some thorough breakdownage!! Kinda scary. lol. Good luck getting going on this new one!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Math. Melting. Brain.

All I know is I DO have a hard time getting back into the groove after editing. I think you're onto something here with the whole "editing lag."

Holly Ruggiero said...

I think my brain exploded.

Marjorie said...

I wish that I had a solid Idea for a book. To bad. When it comes perhaps I'll actually finish it. I did have an idea once but then it fell flat. I am still mesmerized by the fact that you have written so many books.

Holly Ruggiero said...

It’s a true thing. I’m rewriting, not editing, or writing something new and there is a completely different math equation for that!

Talli Roland said...

Oh yeah. I so hear this. And I love the term 'editing lag'! And i really have nothing else to add 'coz I've I had two glasses of wine and my brain is addled!

roxy said...

I really have a hard time going from revisions to writing new stuff. I tend to want some time between to bask in the completion of my goal, and then I'm intimidated by the blank page when I finally get back to work. Editing lag is an awesome term!

Hart Johnson said...

Carol-so relieved my complex is wide-spread! Erm... I mean... sorry it happens to you, too!

Diana-blogging gets in the way of my typing end, but I write in the tub for the most part... it is a trick to fit in at first, though...

Colene... BOO! *snicker* I know. I'm scary.

Raquel-oh no! Don't let me melt you! Funny... I find simple math relaxing and tend to think spatially anyway.

Holly--actually 2 of my 4 edits were fairly significant rewrites, so I hear you... The only version that is 'just editing' is the one I call 'smoothing', but I call it all editing... I'm not sure why the term rewrite bugs me, but it does.

Marjorie-that creative mind of yours SURELY has plenty of ideas... maybe try a few short stories to get your writing feet wet. You do great with poetry.

Talli-man, you're giving me time zone envy!

Roxy-Thank you! For me it isn't the blank page that is hard. it is my pages of circles and lists and where to grab to get started...

Rachel Morgan said...

Seeing as I'm still on novel #1, I have yet to experience editing lag! (I like the term though...)

But I ♥ your math!

VR Barkowski said...

At the risk of stating the obvious, I'm weird. I edit far slower than I write. I'm looking for extra words, pacing, flow, emotions that must be added or subtracted, highs, lows, humor, metaphors, similes that can be layered in, distance of POV, the characters' voices, replacing tells with shows. I then read every page aloud. When it sounds good I read it into a tape recorder and play it back. This is only a first round chapter edit. Multiply this by ten for a finished manuscript. I don't think it's possible for me to write slower than I edit.

Crystal Pistol said...

Ah... the four day weekend celebration type thing... I recently celebrated Tucson's Rodeo days with pizza, chicken wings, cookies and ice cream. And that was just breakfats on day one!

Yes. I wrote breakfats. Term coined.

B- is better than 90% of the general Ameri pop. Good job.

Hart Johnson said...

Rachel-Oh, I don't envy those first editing rounds. It is a rare person who gets it at first. Glad you love the math! I'm sort of a number nut.

VR-if I added ALL my editing rounds, it ends up being a lot slower too... that speed was for a once through and there are 3 rounds of that before the reader, then two then another reader (which is where I am with the farthest along besides the Cozy, which then had an agent round and now is having an editing round, but the other works AREN'T yet agented...) so you can see in reality, the editing takes about 3 times as LONG, I just do it in passes.

Crystal--WAHOO! Rodeo breakfat sounds fabulous! teehee Hope it was fabulous!

Helen Ginger said...

Okay, here's what you need to do, Hart. Quit doing math! If you feel the urge to do math, leave your computer and read a book on the couch instead.

The Words Crafter said...

My brain hurts trying to figure out how you came up with that math!!!! Editing scares me. I still haven't edited my nano novel *shameful face palm* but you do inspire me!

Grats on the B-, too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Crap! Is that what I have to look forward to on my next manuscript?

B. Miller said...

WOW, Hart, all that math freaked me out. But it's a good formula. Glad you came up with it, and I can reap the benefits. ;)

Keep up your awesome weight loss work - I'm getting into that myself.

erica and christy said...

If you drink in the closet, it doesn't count. Just sayin'.
erica