Tasteful Butchery Well Done

Different writers seem to favor different parts of the writing process.  For some, it’s the brainstorming of ideas.  For others, it’s getting that first draft down.  A lot of writers, though, seem to shrink from the editing/rewriting part of the process.

As I continue my writing journey, I find myself having the most fun when editing or rewriting.  At that stage, I feel like the initial pressure to produce something is gone and the creative give and take with the manuscript can begin.

When I’m short on writing time, as I have been for the past several months while hubby is laid off, I keep the writing bug alive by reading books and blogs about writing.  In fact, I start each workday by reading through the blogs I follow and hitting a few of the freshly pressed for the day.  Right now, I’m reading Writers on Writing.  It’s a collection of  New York Times essays written by famous writers.  I’ll admit, there’s an awful lot of self-indulgent crap in there, but something I read this morning struck me as brilliant.  Author Paul West had this to say:

“I stay up long enough, usually, to correct what I’ve written, and on occasion to carve it up, then go to bed with that elated shiver of tasteful butchery well done.”

Tasteful butchery well done.  The whole book was worth that one quote.

I can chalk up my struggles with the WIP to stress and being overworked for months; but even in the midst of the turmoil, I’ve managed to give the story some structure.  I love the search for and discovery of ideas, the playful dialogue, and getting the first draft down, even though it’s tough right now.  But the part where I get to sit on my porch with a typed draft in front of me, red pen in hand, and smooth out the rough patches–that’s when I feel most like a writer.

Don’t be afraid of or dread rewriting and editing.  Savor it.  This is where we go beyond being overgrown kids with wild imaginations.  This is where we become writers.

Tasteful butchers, all.

I Think We Already Knew This


Why is writing so undervalued?  Is the situation due, as one commenter said, to the number of awful self-published books out there? Are stories told in books of less value than those in songs, movies, or paintings?

I doubt this is a recent development. From what I’ve read, there are very few writers from any era who have really made a killing in this business.  Are only publishers making a decent living?  Are writers being made to carry too much of the financial burden in the form of low royalties when it comes to the physical production of the finished book?

Why isn’t writing, as an art form, worth more money?

Another Day, Another Rejection


It’s Russell Crowe’s birthday today, so I thought I’d use his image to mark yet another rejection. Happy birthday, Russell!

So, the search is on for my next target for this particular story. I haven’t given up on the idea of attempting my own illustrations and self-publishing; but the situation is so bad right now, I can’t even afford art supplies! Oddly enough, I’m not feeling discouraged.  In fact, I spent some time working on my current story.  My chief suspect is taking shape.  Scenes are forming in my mind.  I can see the house where much of the action takes place.  I’m having fun with it.

Whether through traditional publishing or on my own, these stories will one day have an audience.  And they will be entertained.

The Suckiness of the Situation Notwithstanding…

…I did manage to make a small but important step forward in the story. I had an idea of how I wanted a piece of the mystery to look (no footprints where there should have been footprints), but until today I couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. I think I have a solution, which should move the story forward a bit.

I hate being stuck on a small detail.

Well, I lost my best buddy last week (Gandalf the cat), my husband’s layoff continues, my son was injured at work and is still waiting for his worker’s compensation claim to go through, my primary transcription customer is a deadbeat, and our financial situation has gone from tough to crushing in the last two weeks, but the writing must go on.

Calm your brain for just a few minutes. Read a little bit about writing. Dabble. The muse will drop by, even if it doesn’t stay long.