Being the Definitive Collection of Works by Allison Holt


(Much like the author)

On Prewriting And Rewriting

Posted in on May 22, 2006

My boy Timmy B has come to one of those conclusions that a great many of us who’ve tried to write any fiction have come to at one time or another: eventually, you’ve got to stop all of the pre-writing, get past all of that “planning” you think you’re doing, quit futzing around and dive into the real writing.

I know what he’s talking about, of course; I’m a Four-Time Procastination Through Pre-Writing World Champion (I pulled a John Larroquette and took my name out of consideration after my fourth win back in ‘96). I’ve got what feels like thousands of Microsoft Word documents and text documents and 3x5 note cards all with scribblings about my stories — and very, very little that’s actually part of the stories themselves. I know a whole bunch of reasons why that’s true, and I’m sure I’ve delineated them here before. I’m less interested right now in rehashing the why nots as much as I am in finding ways to break through them.

My latest experiment, which I haven’t really tried yet though I’m prepped for it, is a return to my roots: that’s right, I’m coming back home to pencil and paper. One of my problems (OK, so I lied — I’ll rehash one problem) is that I have this irrational feeling when I pull up a blank document on my computer that whatever I write has to be perfect. Whatever pours from my fingers into the keyboard isn’t a draft, it’s a final, publication-ready masterpiece. And that, of course, is just dumb. It’s also one of the chief causes of my creative paralysis.

Therefore, I’m hoping I’m able to trick my head into loosening up some by using tools which, by their very nature, can’t be used for a final draft. Anything I write on the loose-leaf paper I bought a few nights ago will automatically have to go through the revision process when I type it in, so, really, it’s okay to let it suck. I’m gearing up to try actually working on one of the stories that’s been simmering in my head for awhile, so wish me luck.

And wish Tim luck while you’re at it. He’s going the “if I tell the public that I’m going to write $thing, people will by-damn hold me to it” road, so I’m throwing all of the considerable support of Do or Do Not his way. Get to work, Tim!

(Speaking of rehashing, by the way: it turns out this is the second time I’ve written on this topic. The first time was almost exactly a year ago. I’m sure there’s something to be said in there for the cyclical nature of something or other, but I couldn’t possibly tell you what it was. Unless I went and wrote it out longhand first.)

Allison Holt spends her days wrestling with code and her nights wrestling with her amazing wife, three fantastic children and her big goofy rescue dog. You can find her at any of the social media links below, or you can email her at

All wrestling referred to in the previous paragraph is metaphorical.