So yesterday I was whining here and around the internet about the imbalance I feel are in my posts as of late. I was on a quest to find new topics…topics I felt I could talk about to balance out the blog.
And the most prominent question was, why? Why did I care about it being imbalanced? Why did it matter? Why do I schedule my posts? Why don’t I just talk about whatever I want whenever I want?
The answer? Because I’m a sick, sick person.
Probably not sick in the conventional sense of the word, but sick nonetheless. No, I’ve never been diagnosed, and I don’t know if I’d quite qualify. And I’m not mocking those who are really ill and diagnosed and medicated. I don’t use this term lightly.
It’s OCD. For those of you who don’t know what that stands for, it’s “obsessive-compulsive behavior.” And though I’m functional and not-medicated I know it’s more than a partially true diagnosis. In fact, I sometimes feel like the only reason I am functioning is that I am extremely lazy and aware of my laziness. I know that if I start doing some things…it won’t be long before I’m at them with a magnifying glass, toothbrush, and toothpicks for hours. So I just don’t start.
There are other rationalizations that save me. Like floors. I don’t understand cleaning floors. I do it, but not nearly as often as I should. Get them clean, they get dirty again. Yes, the room looks better afterwards…but it only lasts about five minutes. And I have yet to find a method of washing the kitchen floor that I’m satisfied with. I feel like I’m just swooshing the dirt from side-to-side.
My time is better spent elsewhere.
So my mind turns to organization. Which feeds both my illnesses…that need to control and organize and my inherently lazy nature. Because anything well-organized is a boon to laziness. Everything is where you can easily find it without trying. I hate searching for things…
How sick am I? Ok…as an example. Some of us witchy-types have a “book of shadows” right? Yeah. Well, I’ve got a “disc’o shadows” (bad joke, I know!). For about…oh far more years than I will ever admit publicly, I’ve been saving information. At first on paper, and then later via text files. I was a member of way more email lists than anyone wants to know and for at least 10 of those years, I saved nearly every email into a text file.
I have just finished transcribing them (yes, re-typing each and every one I felt worthy of keeping) and organizing them into convenient, well-organized folders. In fact, the next stage is to convert all the files into RTF format so that I can send them to anyone regardless of what word processing program they’re using.
When I started the transcription, I had 170+ text files, each of which contained a minimum of 100 pages. Some had over 500. The good news is I ended up trashing quite a bit of it because it was a duplicate or I felt it was worthless information. It would have taken much longer otherwise. (The other good news is that I actually have decent word-per-minute typing skills!)
Not impressed? Okay, check this out. This is my herbal cabinet…
So the left is last year, the right is this year. That third shelf is kinda messy…mostly because I ran out of containers for some of the bagged herbs. Yes, I’ve used some things there…and as you can tell, I’ve added some. But isn’t it wonderfully organized? Still?
I’m a sick, sick girl.
But what does this have to do with writing, you may well ask, knowing how obsessive I am with my schedule?
Glad you asked.
I write in an overly anal-retentive, OCD fashion. Seriously. Beginning to end, streamlined, as it happened. This is great in some ways, and detrimental in others. It’s great because it’s easy for me to follow, easy to remember where I was, easy to know what’s happening next. It’s detrimental because I have a tendency to add segue scenes where none are necessary. There’s an awful lot of walking to, who is in the room, when they got there, and why, and other superfluous crap that no one but me cares about.
Stuff I am now having to edit out. Because I’m at 77,000 words (okay, to be fair, I’ve since gotten this down to just over 72,000) and I’m not done. I’ve devised scenes I want to intersperse with scenes as they are now so I can show what is happening around the world without having to use the very dated, very boring, tell-not-show method of having my characters read it in the newspaper, hear it on the radio, or see it on television or on the internet. I mean, really…*yawn*
So I figure I want to get the manuscript closer to 65,000. I’d be happier at 62 but I’d work with 67. There’s a lot more to go, in other words. I’m evaluating, quite literally, every single word I choose for maximum impact, minimum space. It’s not easy. I like words. I like a lot of words. I’m pretty verbose.
The other problem with beginning-to-end writing…is when you realize there’s a problem. Like I did some time ago. I realized that my climax wasn’t very climactic. It was fixed easily enough, in some ways. After a little head banging, I figured out what I think is a pretty fantastic and climactic scene. Inserted it just where I wanted it and…
Realized in doing so I’d completely screwed up the last half of the book. So more editing, smoothing out wrinkles, making that all fit in…
And then realized I had more to pull out because of the scenes I’m inserting. A lot of the dialog is now irrelevant and unnecessary…I’m showing what happened. My characters no longer have to passively discuss this.
This is getting on every single one of my OCD nerves right now, let me tell you. It’s disorganized, and here I am rewriting the last three chapters. Again.
Hope I didn’t scare too many of you with this little glimpse of how my mind works. It could have been so much worse. I thought about posting pics of my broom closet. As in real brooms, where my cleaning supplies are? Yeah, probably better not to show that. I’d like to have some readers left!