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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fast is better, right?

Or is it? Writing isn't a race in my opinion, but I do understand the whole NaNo concept. Especially now that I "unofficially" joined in. Most of you know that I recently put an old project to the side and started a new one. With a NaNo mentality, I dove in head first. I outlined for the first time ever, and on November 1st, I started writing like a mad woman. There was just one problem--my pesky little head-case of an editorial mind kept butting in. Every sentence was up for scrutiny. I only managed to write a measly 400 words the first week. I have to give all of you credit who actually succeed in the NaNo challenge. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is definitely an accomplishment that I doubt I'll ever achieve in this lifetime. But, you know what? I'm okay with that. It just isn't my style. I prefer the slow and steady form of writing--second guessing every word, editing as I go, etc. In the end, I'm happier with my day's work. My point is this--write how you want to write. Whatever works for you is the best method no matter what anyone else is doing. If you're comfortable cranking out almost 2,000 words a day and going back to edit later, then do it. If you prefer to write a lot less and edit as you go, then do that. Either way, we all get to "THE END", right? My humble Tuesday Tip for this week is to write how you are comfortable, not how someone else you know writes. Whether you are the tortoise or the hare, you will make it to the finish line so long as you are determined. So, what kind of writer are you?

25 comments:

Erica M. Chapman said...

Great post!

Oh I'm a fast one. I'm already at 24K in NaNo... however, I'm a bare bones first drafter, so it's mostly dialogie, action, some inner monologue and a few descriptions, that's about it. Revision is my friend, it's my crappy, takes-forever-to-call-back friend ;o)

I'm sure your first drafts are much cleaner than mine ;o) Good luck with your WIP!!

The Book Nut said...

When I do try to write, I think I'm like you, scrutinizing every word and reviewing what I've already written multiple times! In the end, I like what I write but the problem is I lose focus. I wonder what would happen if I were to charge through without looking back? Possibly I'd finish, but would I be satisfied with the result? I would probably lose focus once I started the editing process and I would end up in the same boat! Oh well, I like to think that some day I'll actually put my mind to a project and go for broke, but for now, I have to focus on taking care of my family! :) Good luck to you with all of your projects!

Abby Annis said...

Sometimes I think you're my long lost twin or something. ;) I'm definitely a write as you go type of person. Makes me crazy sometimes. But it's nice to be so close to being truly done when you finally do type "The End". :)

I was having the hardest time getting my ending done, because for some reason, it feels set in stone once it's on the screen. And since I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted the final scene to go, I was totally frozen.

So I pulled out my notebook and decided to just list all the things I wanted included (away from the computer, so I had no distractions) and ended up writing the whole thing out in my notebook. I had to stop several times and go back to certain points and start over because things were kind of meandering, but apparently, for me, the words are less permanent when they are ink on paper instead of black on my computer screen. Maybe because I get to edit it as I enter it into my word processor. :)

I know you write a lot like me, so maybe this'll help if you get stuck. Good luck with your project!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

It depends on which stage of the process I'm at. I tend to start slowly, then sprint through to the end, where I trudge through the muck. :-)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Very. Very. Slow.

Granted, I don't do NaNo.

jenheadjen said...

This was totally my experience last night with a very important letter. I've been trying to write it for months, but the words just weren't meshing, so I scrapped the whole thing, hoping for a more inspired time. So I guess regardless of speed, I need to feel a bit inspired, as if the words just flow. If they don't, it seems it's not the "right" time for me. But then, that's just a letter, not a book!

Glynis said...

I think you are so right, Susan. I am fortunate that I am keeping up with NaNo and enjoying my first time. Whether I make it to the end is another matter. I am going to try hard. If it wasn't working, I would stop. I would not want anything to take the pleasure away.

Christ is Write. said...

I like to write a sloppy draft before editing, however I do like to look back every now and then while I'm writing the first draft and fix a few errors. It's sort of like putting things up in the kitchen while you are still cooking instead of waiting. The less the mess, the less the stress. ;)

Great post!

Tessa
www.christiswrite.blogspot.com

Carolyn V. said...

I'm a fast first drafter, slow reviser. My writing buddy is just the opposite (and has amazing writing skills).

Robyn Campbell said...

No NaNo, but I wish I was named Zippy. Alas, I'm named Dawdle. But I get the job done. Just not as fast as everyone else. I'm even slower at revising. :) Even slower at fixing my query. Which is what I'm doing now. Can't get a handle on it.

Patti said...

I'm a stop and go kind of writer. I can write a lot in one day then nothing for a couple. I really need to be more consistent.

Jill Kemerer said...

It's so important to listen to your process. I know what works for me, and I don't cram myself into something that doesn't fit.

Nancy said...

I enjoyed this post so much. I agree we should write in the style that fits us best. I love to "get it down" and then when I'm all done with the whole book, go back and fix everything that needs fixing. I usually do this at least twice. I just can't write the way you do. I wish I could. It would be nice to do it once and be done.

Melissa said...

Good post. I actually really enjoyed just writing. It gave me a reason to get past my excuses.

I finished NaNo yesterday.

Andria said...

I did NaNo last year and I'm doing it this year and, for me, it's totally freeing because I had spent ages and ages "thinking" and "planning" and writing first chapters of novels and not getting anywhere.

I didn't finish my NaNo novel last year (finished the 50,000 words, but the story has a long way to go), but what I learned from NaNo last year helped me to write an entire first draft in about 6 months this year. Before it had taken me years to finish my novels.

I think people should work the speed they need to work at. Some of my favorite writers are those who take a year(s) on writing a book. But right now, I need the speed.

Thanks for the post!

L. T. Host said...

I'm a little bit of both. My first novel took 6 years or so, but there was a big chunk of time in the middle when I didn't work on it at all. My second novel only took me a month to write the first draft.

My third is going to take a while, and is simmering, and my fourth took about six months to get a first draft out. I think I write how I write for the given project... I'm not convinced that any one way is better or worse.

Now, if you finish your 50K book on Nov. 30th and start querying it Dec. 1st, I think you need to re-visit your process. But if you write best quickly-- or slowly-- I say just do whatever you need to do to get the words out.

Diane said...

Slow and steady wins the race. I write when the ideas come to me, not when I have to push them out. :O)

Stephanie said...

Great post!!!!! I don't do NaNo, not because I don't think I can do it, but because I just don't want to be under that kind of stress/expectation. And I don't want to wait til the first of a specific month to start a project.

Sometimes I do like to just write write write..get it out..then go back and fix it. I do that every so often. When I do that I average about 30,000 in a month.

Shellie said...

My hat is off to those NaNo folks as well. I can't write that fast and make any sense.

Ron Smith said...

I'm right on with you on this. I just don't see the need to try to write that many words in a week or month or however long it is. At least for me. If it works for others, cool.

Truman Capote once said to some writer or another That's not writing, that's typing.

MT said...

Just like a runner is impressive with a 6 minute mile, writers can impress with a novel in a month - but not me! I am having fun watching from the sidelines though. Have a great week! :)

Amy DeTrempe said...

It is so hard to send the inner editor on vacation, isn't it. I've never participated in NaNo because I am pretty sure that as soon as I make the decision, my muse will head to a warmer climate. However, I have written that many words in 30 days. But, it had nothing to do with NaNo, it was just how the story took off and I flew through that first draft. Haven't done it since. Wish I could.

Laura Pauling said...

I don't do Nano because I'd rather take my 3-4 months to write a first draft and be happier with what I have. If I tried to write 50k words in a month - it would not be good.

Jen Chandler said...

So, so, SO true! We writers do tend to measure our successes and failures by how other writers work.

I have to get ideas out there, on paper, splattered between lines and over mountains of blank printer paper. I've learned that it doesn't have to make sense, this first draft. It just needs to get out there. I have so many tangents and new angles in this NaNo story of mine, that it will take months to untangle it.

But THAT is the part of writing I love most. The untangling. The enfleshing of the skeleton that I dumped into a crate that somewhat resembles man.

Wonderful post!
Cheers,
Jen

Name: Holly Bowne said...

You know, I'm starting to wonder if that's the real subconscious reason I've never participated in NaNo, even though I've thought about it. I tend to be very methodical in my approach to writing projects, and the thought of pounding out a bunch of words just to meet the daily goal doesn't really work for me, I guess. Thanks for your insight once again, Susan!