Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prose Detox

I think I mentioned last week that I was under the weather, either due to a severe allergy or an awful cold. I think it was a cold, because I got a lot of people sick, evidently, including my writing compatriot Gail Gray. I decided this week, after kicking most of that crap out of my system, I'd try to give my body a few days to cleanse itself. I'm doing a "poor-man's" detox, and I'm cutting out all caffeine, processed sugar, meat, etc. Drinking lots of water, eating fruits and vegetables, trying my hand at some vegetarian cuisine - I even have some tofu marinating in the fridge for dinner tonight.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I said to myself, "Self," (I call myself Self) "You should put this in your blog. I'm sure you can relate it to writing somehow."

"I don't think so," I argued (I'm a contrary cuss, aren't I?). "It's just food, man, it doesn't have anything to do with writing."

I then told myself that everything relates to writing, in one form or another, at least for me. I decided to sleep on it and see if I could think of a way I could relate it, and if so, I'd blog about it today.

In the shower (where so many good ideas come, remember?) I realized that my writing can do with a little cleansing itself. Once I've finished the book and let it rest for a few weeks, I want to put it through the literary equivalent of a detox. Right now I'm just focusing on getting the impurities out of my system, mostly by drinking lots of water and fruit juice, while eating minimally. The things I do eat are super healthy - veggies, fruits, smoothies, etc. I want to do this with my manuscript. I will scrub it vigorously with grammar and syntax. I will clean away all the adverbs and cliches I can find. I'll make it as pure as I can - as sparkling as the MS can be.

It'll be hard, just like this week (or possibly two weeks, I haven't decided) is going to be. But it will be rewarding. Once I've finished my little detox project on myself, I'm sure I'll feel better. Things will have more elaborate tastes. Sleep will come easier. The sickness from last week will be entirely out of my system.

And the same will be true for my manuscript in early July; that's my goal, anyway. It's already good. Of course, so am I - but I can use improvement. Can't everything? So after the editing, after the "prose detox", it'll be cleaner, smoother, punchier. It will say exactly what I want it to say. And, most important of all, it'll be ready to run the gauntlet of querying and submitting to agents and publishers.

A difficult - but fun and rewarding - journey. On both counts. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.


Talli Roland said...

Great post - thanks. As I'm pretty much addicted to sugar and caffeine, I'm in awe of your detox.

However, I do love to detox my writing! Slash, tighten and cut - it's all good.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Good luck with both detoxings!

And as a total vegan, I applaud your attempts.

Arlee Bird said...

I totally agree that everything relates to writing if you're a writer. I don't know how any real writer can run out of ideas--finding motivation and the ability to express them maybe--but the ideas are always out there.

I try to drink lots of water now. I wish I had a nutritionist to prepare my meals because if you leave it up to me it's not very healthy --like cookies for dinner.

Good luck with your program and stay healthy.


Helen Ginger said...

I'm currently doing a detox on a manuscript, only it's more like a ripping apart.

Glad you're feeling better!

Straight From Hel

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, man, every good idea comes in the shower! And you can relate food to anything! Great post.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Sorry to hear you were under the weather, but I'm glad you're feeling better. I'm over here following you from Nicole and Anne's blogs. :)

Hannah said...

Omg! I call myself Self too!! If we were around each other, it could get very confusing.

I have most of my ideas in the shower as well and will soon be investing in bath crayons.

I usually do a detox every couple of months. They are hard but worth it.

Feel better!!

Lola Sharp said...

I left you LITTLE GOODIE on my blog, B. :o)


Lola Sharp said...

Oh, I hope you--and Gail--feel better soon.

Lots of vitamin C and clear fluids.

(and it still wont let me follow. So freaky. But I keep trying.)

ggray said...

Cudos to you - you're a better person than I am. Giving up coffee? Don't think so.
Hmmm, I wonder what that relates to that I can't let go of in my writing - something not so good fo it? Maybe you'll clue me in at writer's meeting. Good for you. I'm proud of you. Keep at it and feel better.
Detoxing our writing - what a great way of putting it.

B. Miller said...

Thanks for all the great comments, guys!