2/16/2017: Some Novel Editing Guidelines

  1. Warm up vignette first. It will remind you to love your writing and will take some of the droll that can come with the wrong approach to writing.
  2. Don’t edit something just because it needs to be edited. It all needs to be edited. Read and do the work that calls you. Think of it like a conversation. You don’t have to drive through every topic that comes up. Drive through the ones that draw you. And stick with the conversation long enough, and you’ll have driven through each and every section of your book.
  3. Don’t postpone something you want to do because it will take time. Do it now, while you want to.
  4. Try not to get too bogged down in grammar and polish. At the same time, don’t necessarily ignore them. They just have a tendency to bog things down. To make you too linear and not nearly as right-brained and emotionally involved as you should be.
  5. With that said, don’t get too linear. Feel free to jump around. Stop wherever you feel led to. Start over whenever you want.
  6. Read what you’re editing a lot. Read perhaps more than you write. Read over and over. Read sporadically. Read in order.
  7. And think. Read and think. And when I say think, I’m really talking about active quiescence. Daydream. Let your mind wander as you read and think about what you’ve written. Wait and let thoughts come to you. Read slowly.
  8. Remove distractions, so those thoughts can come to you.
  9. Unfinished things don’t have to be finished right now. Leave them unfinished until you’re led to do something with them, even if that’s to delete them. Also, whatever is next (after editing something) doesn’t have to finished right now. Work on whatever you’re led to. I relate it to writing a poem. You find bits that don’t really fit, but because you don’t know what will fit, you don’t necessarily have to replace those bits right away. You might reshape them some, but it’s in the reshaping of the whole poem that you find out if they fit or not and how you can change them to fit. So don’t feel like you have to know or polish what each part is when you come to it.

4/30/2016: On Clustering (For Writing)

I need to nuance my understanding of the purpose of clustering. We learned it for random vignettes, but this is not its only usage. This was merely a tool to learn the process and to practice it.

Because the right brain does not order or sequence or define, because it seeks to explore, to make new connections—to join numerous sprigs into some unknown end, it seems to work best without any agenda in place—any known end. Else, you are sequencing, defining, ordering things to fit an agenda, and that’s the left brain. The right brain works when you play, when you don’t know where you’re going but delight at exploring and arriving somewhere new.

Perhaps it works when you take one known endpoint and connect it to something else in an unknown way—seeing how a person might connect something to another something. That seems feasible. I wonder if Rico has anything about that. She did use clustering to arrange her book, and she had the agenda of writing an instructive book about clustering, soooo…

I need to learn to trust the free, generative side. For instance, if I have something I want to include in a piece, but I want to leave myself to explore (right brain), I should just let myself go on doing so, even when I don’t see how that thing will be included, merely because the design mind likely has it in there even when I don’t see it. I just need to keep going until it pops out. I have seen this a few times, actually. Just because you aren’t consciously in control (sign mind) doesn’t mean you’re not on target. Both sides of your mind are still you and work toward your goals.