I decided several days ago to cut out a block of time each day to devote to revising my manuscript. So instead of my usual lunch break, I went to Starbucks, bought a coffee and sat by myself at a table. Huddled around my work laptop (don’t tell) I re-read a printed out copy of Chapter 1, making notes and changes.
Starbucks is not a good place if you need solitude. Especially one in downtown Manhattan. In this city it is near impossible to find yourself alone, which is ironic since you usually feel very isolated and abandoned by those around you. Despite the noise of patrons and the obnoxious Christmas music (I like classic hymns and carols, not modern polka by Bob Dylan) I managed to focus on my draft. I even found a few key areas to refine and an additional sentence to add to the penultimate paragraph.
Because I had already began the process of revising Chapter 1 earlier this week, I feel that I had successfully concluded it today (until, of course, I start my third draft a year from now). I hope to move to Chapter 2 soon. I say ‘soon’ because the holidays been for me next week and with the invasion of many friends and relatives, my regular schedule will be impeded.
My real challenge is finding time when I can be alone and focus on this work. Like I mentioned above, New York is not a city where you find yourself alone quite often. In the office and shops there are always people ready to distract you, and as John Cleese has said, distractions are deadly to the creative process. I’d try the park, but at this time of year that would be just as deadly. So I’m forced to find little times to escape. Maybe eventually I can find a more steady routine.
Until then, I’ll just punch people who annoy me. That always works.