04 November 2020

Making a List

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I don't know if you knew this, but sometimes writing is hard. Editing is hard, too. Rewriting is REALLY hard. When you're trying to polish a manuscript and make it as perfect as you possibly can, thinking about all of the things you still have to do can be overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I don't know where to start. 

Luckily for me, I love making to-do lists. I rarely have a day off where I don't make a long list of tasks that I want to get done. So, when it comes to editing/rewriting, I decided I needed a list. When I was reading through UL to try to get my head back into the idea of writing, there were certain parts I knew needed big changes, others smaller ones. An awkwardly written sentence here or there can be easy to fix, but when there are entire scenes that I want to rethink, sometimes I just avoid working on them at all. 

So to ease into the process, I made a new list. I went through every chapter, noting particular moments that needed bigger rewrites than just a sentence or two. So instead of opening my manuscript and staring into the abyss, I can pinpoint where I need to start working. I know some scenes will be easier to fix than others. Some will need some extensive thinking to figure out what the story actually needs. Instead of getting overwhelmed by how much I need to get done, I can take it one step at a time, focusing on whichever part I feel I can accomplish when I sit down to write. 


I know I still have a lot to do, and I actually haven't even finished this list yet. Some of the later chapters need a lot of work. But some of the chapters don't need any work at all! I've also decided that Chapter 21 is getting the ax! There are a few moments in it that I can probably sneak into other chapters if necessary, but I like the idea of cutting down the length, especially in the third act (it's waaaaaaaaaaaay too long).

Eventually I'm hoping that every single list I could possibly create will be completed, and the story will be done. Then I suppose it will be time for new lists...publishing related lists, perhaps? I can dream...


19 comments:

  1. Making lists of needed edits is great idea. When I finish the manuscript I'm writing now, I may try it when I start revising.

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  2. That's great some don't need work at all. Figure out what you did right with them, make your lists, and then fix the rest.

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  3. So long Chapter 21!!
    I'm surrounded by natural list makers - and I'm trying to become one :)
    When I was completely overwhelmed way back in July I made a giant To Do list then prioritized and organized ... and you're so right. It gave me a handle on next steps and I wasted far less time.
    Glad you've got a plan!

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  4. Woot! It looks like you've got a good plan to tackle all your work! I have to rewrite as well, and I definitely agree that it's super hard. I wish you best of luck with your book!

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  5. I create lists like that for my books. It helps me when I sit down to work to have a pre-made list filled with items from which to choose. I admit I always start with the easiest stuff first, then work my way through the rest.

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  6. I love to-do lists. They help with decision fatigue which stops you from taking any action.

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  7. I like lists for my writing, too. They really help me with revision, because otherwise I'll forget something, or several somethings.
    Happy Writing in November!

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  8. I really got into intensive editing recently, something I now wish I’d been doing all along. I love reading through a manuscript and seeing how I can improve it, especially when I find stuff to cut entirely, and where I can add real value.

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  10. I love this idea! I tend to write in order (at least mostly), but I can see how jumping around could be freeing, so long as you can stitch it together in the end. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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  11. I have to do lists too, Sarah, mostly because I don't want to forget something important. Good luck with your plan. You have a great roadmap for moving forward!

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  12. Sounds like you're getting close! One of the things I do at the end is reverse outline so I can look at it from a simpler angle and make sure everything is where it should be. I use lists a lot in daily life and specific tasks.

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  13. I like to make lists too. For every piece I write. It's great idea. you're doing very well.
    Sonia from https://soniadogra.com

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  14. I have scattered notes on all kinds of paper because ideas come to me wherever. Because I don't take my notebook with me, my notes often get lost.

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  15. Lists are the way to go. Helps stay organised & on track.

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  16. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Writing is hard, but it's good to have helpful lists along the way.

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  17. Excellent idea! I used to keep a notebook for each book I was writing with story notes and chapter outlines. I'd even add pictures of things I wanted to describe. They're a lot of help when I have to stop for long periods between writing spurts.

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  18. I am currently doing rewrites on a book, and I can attest to the fact that rewriting is REALLY hard.

    I love to-do lists. Too much. Love so much that I sometimes hate them. lol Like now, when my to-do list keeps growing.

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