Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Manuscript Revision and Retreats

This morning, I did a bit of revising of the memoir manuscript.  I'd like to have it into solid form by Labor Day. 

What does solid form mean?  All of the blog posts revised into stand-alone essays.  A book manuscript, ready for one last revising and editing.  Close enough to being done that I could consult agents.

I have been trying a different approach to my writing mornings this past week.  On mornings when I have time to do more than one writing task, I do the memoir revising first.  Then I turn my attention to blog posts.

Of course, my approach to the book writing/revising is very old-fashioned.  I came across this blog post, where Rich Melheim has a completely different approach, one that employs social media in interesting ways that builds buzz and also garners feedback along the way.

I should also revisit my poetry manuscript at some point.

My essential problem, and one that many of us have, I'm guessing, is that many of my poems could be grouped together into a book. It's now been several years (7 or so, actually) since I last revised the manuscript, and in the intervening time, I've written poems that would fit with the other poems, and many of the newer poems are stronger.

Do I revise? Do I just compile a new manuscript, as if older manuscripts had never existed? It's hard to approach it all with fresh eyes.

I find myself yearning for three kinds of retreats.  One is a writer's retreat, a longer retreat than the quick week-ends I sometimes take.  I get so much done on those two week-end days that I wonder what a week-long or month-long retreat would birth.  I imagine having long stretches of time to revise and compose and think about a different approach--and then time the next morning to actually make some of the changes, while it's still fresh on my mind.

And then there's the kind of retreat which is really a vacation, where I sit by a pool and sip tropical drinks while reading my way through a pile of delightful books.

And the idea of a spiritual retreat is never far from my head.  I wrote this piece which just posted at the Living Lutheran site which says more about that.

But no time for retreats today.  It's off to work, and then back home, where we have the treat of a 24 hour visit from in-laws who are visiting various family members in Florida.  We're the furthest away, so I'm honored that they're making the effort.

Their visit will be a kind of retreat, but the kind that's all too familiar lately--too short, over too fast.

But a short retreat is better than no retreat.

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