02 September 2020

The Editing Storage Unit

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When I first moved into my apartment, I got a storage unit. I had a lot of stuff that wouldn't fit into my tiny studio apartment, so it was helpful to have a place to store all the stuff that weren't necessities but I still wanted to keep. What you may not know about a storage unit is that the longer you have it, the more they charge you. After a while, I was getting frustrated with being charged more and more and I wanted to get rid of it. So...I had to get rid of some stuff.

Unpacking that unit was not something that happened overnight. It took time to decide what I truly wanted to keep, and what I was actually ok getting rid of. It kind of happened in phases. I would sweep through the unit, finding the things I was ok tossing, bringing home stuff I knew I wanted to keep. Then I would give it some time. I found that a few months or even weeks could help change my mind about whether or not I really needed something. This continued until I was able to empty the unit, and eventually I repeated the process with all the new clutter and boxes filling my apartment. I felt like I wanted to keep something? Ok, keep it. But a few weeks later? I might just change my mind. 

What does this have to do with writing, you might ask? Well, I kind of think of all of the changes I want to make to my book as filling up a storage unit. Every big rewrite or tiny little edit jammed into a 5x5 cube (ok, probably something bigger...at least a 10x15...). Somewhere buried deep in the back is a box labeled "write Chapter 29." And to get it all done, I just have to pick away at it. 

Some things are easy to fix right away. A word choice here, an awkwardly written sentence there (I write "AWK" in the margins just like my AP English teacher. She'd be proud). I just go through each chapter, fixing what I can in that moment, skipping what I can't. I figure if I just give it time, I'll be able to eventually figure it out. 

If I can someday clean out every single item from that storage unit, then maybe I can say the book is done. And it's a good thing it's a metaphorical storage unit and I won't miss my rental payments, because I don't think anyone on Storage Wars would be interested in bidding on my edits.

14 comments:

  1. Glad you are going through your storage unit to get rid of things you don't need. And I hope that you get through the stuff in your writing box that is stopping you from writing or fixing Chapter 29. Maybe just tackle a few paragraphs a day while working on other parts of the story.

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  2. I like this analogy. Small steps lead to bigger ones.

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  3. Great analogy! Get it done in small doses. You'll get there.

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  4. That is a great analogy. You did it once, you can do it again.

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  5. Good for you, Sarah. Bet you felt lighter. Life is heavy enough without more stuff than we'll ever use.

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  6. This is a fantastic metaphor.

    I'll do this when I'm working through a round of revisions. I always end up with a run-off list called "Stuff Deeemed Too Difficult Or Time-Consuming to Deal With the First Time Around" or something like that. Gives me the illusion of making progress, if nothing else.

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  7. Great analogy. Take your time, pick away. You'll get there. <3

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  8. I totally hear you and the comparison is spot on. I've stored my book 2 changes in my own personal editing storage unit. I know I'm going to have to deal with it someday, but hopefully I can clear out the book 3 clutter first to make space.

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  9. Great anaolgy!
    Time and distance are vital for me to figure out what to toss and what to keep in my stories!

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  10. An interesting metaphor, and utterly fitting. I need to go through my personal editing storage unit and ruthlessly clean it. Argh! Not a task I'm looking forward to.

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  11. Way to go, Sarah! I don't have a storage unit, but I definitely have belongings to pare down. Loved the analogy. May you finish the book quickly!

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  12. Love this analogy! My storage unit is a big mess. Files saved on Scrivener, drafts in emails, paper copies... I need an intern!

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