Since revising has not only taken over my life but pretty much defines it throughout wake and sleep, I've noticed lately that I've developed yet another writerly tick. I have to admit, I had this one when I was working on my dissertation all those years ago. I think it's impossible writing projects that bring out the real dysfunction in me. It's not an eye tick. It's not biting the side of my mouth thing. It's far worse.
You might be a writer if...you consider finishing a book a surefire way to lose weight.
Let me clarify. By finish, I mean, that's it, basta, finite, the end is the end, there are no more revisions. None. Walk away form the keyboard and don't ever come back (until you start the next project, of course).
Why would this be a guaranteed way to lose weight?
I think it has to do with all the imaginary calories I burn each day as I revise. Take my present book. It's set in 19th century New Zealand on a sheep farm. During these last three weeks of intense revisions, I've rebuilt a boat, mustered sheep, rowed out to French Pass from the coast so many times I've lost count, milked cows, collected eggs, sheared sheep, chased a girl (my character is a boy), been thrown overboard, swum with dolphins, and saved a ship from sinking.
It's been a busy few weeks...at least in my head. Writing and revising all of that imaginary activity has worked up my appetite. I've taken to nibbling...for the whole cast. Peanut butter, caramels, nuts, and a whole lot of radishes.
Why radishes, you ask? I got tired of carrots. And gum just doesn't do it. I've tried.
I'm getting tired of radishes, though. Which might explain why I've begun buying up chocolate like famine is imminent. It's sitting in my pantry, calling to me. Waiting for me. Promising to help.
Did they eat chocolate in 19th century New Zealand? Would it hurt to snag just a little?? Will my hips ever forgive me???
I swear as soon as I finish this work, I am going to go on a month long hike, just so my muscles remember what it's like to move in real life, not just in my head. And my brain gets a chance to flatline for a few days. Oh, the joys of flat-lining.
And I lose those five...ten...or so pounds that have layered themselves over me like the ungodly number of pages and words I've cut or rewritten.
Somebody needs to come up with a new diet for this Revision Syndrome...one I can do from the confort of my desk, with my imaginary characters playing along and that doesn't require me to give up chocolate (only radishes).
Ideas, suggestions...am I doomed...oh hell, where's the chocolate???
Causes Stacy Nyikos Supports
ASPCA, Humane Society, Wildlife Federation