Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Judging Time

I have never been a very good judge of how long it actually takes to do something. Perhaps I'm too much of an optimist, or not enough of a realist, but I rarely expect things to take as long as they do.

I have particular difficulty when it comes to my writing projects. Chapters always take longer to write than I think they will, outlines never seem to come together neatly and revisions - well, they take on a life of their own.

Actually, when it comes to revisions, I blame my writer friends, whose critiques are so thorough and so dead on that I can't just ignore them. I have to tackle the changes head on, and one change leads to another...and another...and before I know it, I've exceeded my allotted time. Again.

Such was my week last week. By Saturday, I was still working on polishing an outline and sample chapter that I had expected to launch into cyberspace by the middle of the week. And so I started out on Saturday by checking my e-mail, writing a blog... exercises in procrastination disguised as doing something that needed to be done, because looking at those pages again, however necessary, seemed overwhelming. The pages had already taken so much longer than I'd expected that I hesitated to approach them again, fearful of the time they'd devour.

As it turns out, they did devour a substantial chunk of time...and then they were finished. Yesterday, I sent them to my agent hoping that first she, and then an editor or two will be willing to spend their time on them.

After the fact, I am always glad I spent the time. I just wish I knew how much time to allot in the first place.


Cate Masters said...

There's no gauge to perfection, Lisa! It takes what it takes, and sometimes then some. If we could find a way to gain more time (a time warp, say, or enter another dimension while editing), I'd be all for that!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have times when it takes forever for one partiuclar scene or one chapter and then I'll fly through a hundred pages. My writing pace varies and is so uneven I can also never judge how long something will take.