Groundhog Day . . . Or When Writing Makes You Feel Like Bill Murray

It’s Groundhog Day. And yes, there will be six more weeks of winter. The perfect time to catch up on your writing and editing projects, right? Well, maybe.

But sometimes the writing process can bog you down enough that all you think about is “Will this part never end?” And suddenly you can empathize with Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day a lot more. I must confess I’m in the middle of revision and editing for two books right now. One is my very ugly first draft of the NaNoWriMo novel, which is desperate need of fluffing and refining and just plain fixing, and the other is the final (I hope) round for Tiger’s Paw. Of course, it still has to visit the editor one more time before I can send out the beta copies. But the stage that never seems to end is editing. There is ALWAYS something wrong.

What is even more frustrating is when you send a piece to your beta reader and they see that something’s wrong with it. You know they’re right and you’re glad they caught it before you progressed further from the point of trouble, but then the trial and error of fixing begins. Sometimes it only takes one, maybe two rounds to fix the “that’s just not working” bit. Other times you will get stuck in the Groundhog Day cycle of “still not right, try again, and repeat” cycle. This is good for you and it WILL make your story better in the long run (this is where you stop and thank your beta reader for putting you through the Groundhog Day cycle), but when you are in the middle of the cycle, all you can think is “Will it never end?”

Editing is hard. It’s the place where nothing seems to get you closer to the end because there’s always more to be done. But, just like in the movie, the Groundhog Day cycle will eventually end. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the middle of shifting sentences and scenes and murdering your darlings but one day you will finally put down the red pen and leave the story in its finished and polished state. However, after a particular trying day of editing leaves you feeling wrung out and like you really know zip about writing, schedule a day where you recharge before going back to work on editing. Spend time with your family, watch a movie, read a book (that’s not in your book’s genre), take some time to be crafty, or do nothing at all. Just take the time to stop, rest, and recharge so you will be ready to take up editing again the next day and you won’t feel quite as trapped in the Groundhog Day cycle and you won’t spend hours sitting there wondering why on earth you ever thought you could write.

Just remember the Groundhog Day cycle makes your story and you better by the time you reach the end. Even the most painful moments.

 

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