I’ve pointed out before that I’m a fan of minimalism, and working on becoming a minimalist. A while ago, I found this old blog post by Miss Minimalist (who doesn’t blog regularly herself anymore) about creating space. It compares minimizing your possessions with art. Today I want to take her example and compare your art with minimizing your possessions.
Here’s a few tips on how to put some space between your notes:
1. Start with a clean slate. It’s often easier to compose from scratch than fix something that’s flawed. So when you’re decluttering your closet, your living room, or your schedule, empty everything out of it first. Then, put back only those possessions (or activities) that you cherish the most.
When I finished my NaNoWriMo draft of my WIP, I exported it to my Kindle and read the whole thing twice, the second time taking notes on what was already there and what needed fixed.
Now, as I create my second draft, I opened a blank word document, opened my Kindle, and began typing. I now have to question every word I originally wrote and put back only the ones that are doing their job.
2. Lose the “filler.” Every item in your home, and task in your day, should contribute something of value to your life. If something does nothing more than take up space, give it the heave-ho. Filling your living room with extra tchotchkes is like putting extra notes into Clair de Lune.
Right now I’m struggling with the second scene in my book. The way it’s written now is 100% backstory. It’s like filling my living room with stuff I never use. During my read-through, I came up with a way to make it useful, but there is a lot of filler that has to go. Some of it is filler that I enjoy, filler I remember writing, that I think adds to the ambiance of the story. It’s time to realize what is ambiance and what is clutter.
3. Put everything in its place. A melody depends on every note being in the right place. Similarly, having designated spots for all your things makes your daily life much more harmonious.
One of the most annoying things about revision for me right now is that it’s a dual narrative. I have the antagonist and the protagonist’s perspectives on different timelines. Deciding when to insert the antagonist’s mini-chapters is agonizing for me. Finding where “in its place” is will be one of the hardest parts of this revision, and I’m still not sure if I’ll get it right.