Earlier this week I blogged about how a crazy year-end work schedule had recently made the Writer half of my life somewhat trying. This year, as part of an effort to shake things up while still maintaining productivity, I’m going to do something I never thought I’d do: I’m going to focus more on revision than writing.
Allow me to elaborate. Though I started writing when I was a senior in High School (which, to protect the innocent, we’ll simply refer to as “a very long time ago”), and continued to write fairly seriously all through college, after I started writing Dungeons & Dragons adventures in the early 21st century (that sounds much cooler than “Back in 2001”, doesn’t it?) the amount of time I spent on my fiction took a serious nosedive, and eventually dried up altogether.
It wasn’t until my wife and I decided to relocate from Colorado to Washington (because “we felt like it”) that I started writing again. At the time, we only had one working computer and barely an Internet connection (we lived in a glorified shack in the middle of the woods, which was high on the “beautiful nature” aspect but fell a tad short in the “modern conveniences” department), so I did all of my writing by hand. At the time, my handwriting was decent.
I worked for T-Mobile, handling inbound collection calls. That means people who didn’t pay their bills found their calls re-routed to people like me, who were on-hand to help them resolve their bill payment issues so they could complete their original call to the pizza guy or dog groomer or whoever else they were desperately trying to reach. If handling inbound collection calls sounds like a fun job to you, do yourself a favor and seek therapy.
Anyways, I was able to write on my bus-ride to the call center, as well as between calls and on breaks. This turned out to be a pretty sweet deal, because once I got into the rhythm and flow of writing longhand I really started to churn out the pages. I filled up fourteen 150-page College-ruled notebooks (double-sided) in just under 2 years, which comes out (story wise) to about 8 novels.
You have my permission to be impressed. Now, keep in mind, this is all longhand, and most (as in 12.5 of the said notebooks) are still sitting in my closet, and have yet to be transcribed into the computer. That epic fantasy series (originally titled “Crown of Blood”, but who knows what I’ll decide to call them now) was planned to be a bit longer, but re-locating to a different part of Washington, switching to a different job and quitting smoking stopped the old writing dead in its tracks once again (at least until I threw Blood Skies together a few years later).
Well, I’ve been thinking about those books a lot lately. I love writing the Blood Skies series (Book 5, titled The Witch’s Eye, is about to be released, and I have solid plans for at least 4 or 5 more books in the series), but with all of the stress of the holidays and my limited time as of late, I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t change directions a bit. Not to stop what I’m doing, necessarily, but maybe switch things up a bit.
I’ve transcribed one of the novels (which came out to be a good 117K in length), a painstaking process that took quite a bit of time and more than a little revision (which, to be honest, is one of the advantages to doing things this way, because I can revise as I transcribe). My writing style has changed considerably since I wrote these novels, and I’ve already noticed that my penchant for excessive metaphor was even worse then than it is now. The worst part? As I stated already, my handwriting was decent…but that was before I’d started writing novels longhand. After doing that for 2 years straight, my script now looks positively goblinish.
I’m really looking forward to working on this old stuff and polishing it up for publication. Just like it’s fun to revisit old friends you haven’t seen in a long time, it’ll be fun to revisit this older work. Yes, it will be painful at times (“Oh My God what the Hell kind of a sentence is that???!!!!!”), but I know it will also be rewarding (“Wow…I’m kind of a good writer when I’m not busy sucking…”). Either way, it’ll be an adventure, and sometimes a change is all you need to fan the sparks of your creativity.
Steven Montano is more machine now than man, twisted and evil…no, wait, that’s Darth Vader. Steven Montano is just an Indie writer who lives in Washington. Visit his website for more of his nonsense.