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.