Writing, Offline

I am officially on summer hours. Time to unplug and relax. No work, no responsibility, no worry, right? Um, no.

My project over the coming months is to complete the major edits of  THE BREAKUP EFFECT. And with little time at home and limited access to my laptop, I will rely on one of my favorite methods: a printed, hard copy manuscript and a red marking pen.

I go Old School.

In a modern digital age, it may seem inefficient and impractical to work from a towering stack of paper rather than a streamlined word processor. But to be honest, I have done this with every book I publish. It is an important step in my writing process.

Going Old School has its perks.

It is portable. I tuck the current working chapter into my bag and edit wherever and whenever – baseball tournaments, orthodontic appointments, family trips.

It is tangible. I gain a better perspective of how a book flows when reading it like an actual paperback.

It is persistent. The pages rest in my to do pile, in full view, where they cannot be easily ignored.

It is refreshing. The majority of my job is conducted digitally and online so working from paper is a nice change.

It is simple. Paper. Pen. Read. Edit. Repeat.

It is inspiring. When I read my words in print, the characters and their story become even more vivid in my imagination.

It is peaceful. No computer means no emails, social media notifications, work reminders, or temptation to dwell online.

It is flexible. I can edit words, sentences or entire paragraphs, quickly reference other chapters, and make extensive notes on the backsides of each page while leaving original content.

It is visual. I conduct extensive rounds of digital edits, but there is something about seeing the changes in black and white that appeals to me.

It is obvious. The format – fonts, indents, paragraphs, section breaks, line spacing, titles, etc. – are seen in a clear manner.

It is exciting. Seeing my current book in print form reminds me of how close I am to crossing the publishing finish line.

It is special. This stage of editing my story represents the final moments of our time together. No one knows about it yet. One of the greatest joys of being a writer is to share my stories with others but once I do that, I no longer consider them mine.

When I find a few spare minutes beneath a shady tree or inside an air-conditioned office, I will work through the ink-stained pages.  I will stress over each word. I will question dialogue, description, setting, and plot. I will play with punctuation, sentence length, paragraphs, chapters, and section breaks. I will double-check facts – real and imagined. I will refine my characters until they become my best friends. And as I do, I will linger and appreciate the chance to live alone inside my story – if only for a little while longer.

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash