Been There, Done That

First ‘diary entry’ since beginning the rewrite! If you couldn’t tell by Friday’s ‘progress report’, it’s going well. I had my doubts, as I’ve always been more of an editor (not a professional by any stretch of the imagination) than a re-writer. Although, truthfully, what I’m doing is more of a hybrid of the two methods. As I wrote on Friday, I’ve been reading through my manuscript one page at a time and making corrections/notes in red pen, then rewriting the page into the second draft document using the original text and notations as a guide.

You’ll notice I said I use my original text and red ink notes as a guide, which means I’m essentially writing my book again. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, this story is very personal to me. That said, there are some incredibly painful parts in the story that I have to write/edit/rewrite. In Chapter 2, James goes through something very traumatic and I was not looking forward to having to revisit it. In preparation for this, I tried listening to some music that a year ago would’ve triggered some memories I would’ve rather forgotten entirely.

It didn’t work. I’m not going to list the bands/songs I listened to here, as I don’t really believe in bashing on art just because I don’t enjoy it/no longer enjoy it. All I can say is that, aside from being shocked that I once found some of the music I listened to appealing, I felt nothing. Sure, some songs still bring up memories, some quite vivid. But I didn’t get the visceral reaction I was hoping for. Which, in a sense, is pretty awesome. In the space of a year, I’ve healed and matured in ways I’m not even aware of until I stumble across them. But I was also a little panicked. How on earth was I going to write this traumatic, emotionally crippling chapter without provoking at least some of those feelings in myself?

Just as I was sitting down to start on Chapter 2, I dragged out a couple of old journals. I hate doing that, because in the past, aside from music, those are my most direct source for provoking my emotions. I read a few pages…and still nothing. Not a ‘numb’ nothing, but a more ‘been there, done that’ nothing. An ‘accepted and healed’ nothing. Sure, there are some painful things in those journals. But, aside from sympathizing with my past self, I didn’t get that sinking feeling that I used to from reading old journal entries.

Astounded at my newfound emotional balance, I turned to my manuscript and decided to see what I could do without ‘getting in the mood’.

And it was amazing. I managed to rewrite and transform what I believe to be the most raw part of the book into something even better than the first draft rendition (and I thought the first draft version was pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself).

Needless to say, after just a few days of rewriting, I am sold. I can’t say what my writing future holds, but I do know that I like this style of writing/editing and I hope to continue using it for future projects.

I would also like to pat myself on the back, because at some point within the past year or so, I managed to heal emotionally. As I’ve written before for this blog, music is a major part of my life. So many memories, both good and bad, are tied to specific songs, bands and/or genres. To be able to listen objectively to music that used to make my skin crawl is a huge step for me.

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