There's another aspect of my current novel revision that I didn't mention in the previous post, but which has come to seem very important to me over the past ten (bloggingless) days. In the past, especially when I have been teaching, I have tended to revise in four-hour blocks of time only on days when I could set four hours aside. This generally equated to three days a week of rather fast-paced work, which I accomplished in the service of some deadline (usually arbitrary) that I imposed upon myself.
This time around, I have changed two things. One, I have no deadline ("sometime next year" is all I have told anyone) for finishing. And two, I am working every single day. This includes, say, Tuesdays, when I have, ideally, six hours to make real progress, as well as Wednesdays, when I get up at 5 and have perhaps a single hour.
What I am finding is that the one-hour sessions might well be as important as the six-hour ones--sometimes more so, even if very little (or even no) writing gets done. The key seems to be to do something every day, to keep my mind from straying too far from the book. I've written here before about the difficulty of holding an entire novel in one's head at once--it is possible for some people, and I feel I've been able to do it every now and then. But it is hard, and the more time you spend away from the thing, the more you need to recover when you return.
This method--work daily, even if it's only time enough to stare at the screen and think--is quite revalatory. I feel more connected to the book, even when I'm not really accomplishing anything substantive. We shall see if it pans out in the end.
Finally, the great Lydia Davis is coming to Cornell this week, and I will be posting my podcast interview with her here on Thursday. If there's anything you're dying to ask her, post it in the comments, and I will try to throw it into my interview.
photo: raccoons watching me work the other day.