Jun 27, 2012

Resisting Instant Gratification

I"m at the point in my WIP where the scenes that need to be written are hard.  They are completely gratifying when done, but so hard to write.  These are the scenes that, when writing in NaNoWriMo mode, I change the font color, write a note like "write super fabulous emotional scene here" and move on. 

And they are SLOW!!! 

It is really easy to let the voices get in my head and say that I suck as a writer because X, Y and Z writers crank through their scenes the way I go through a bowl of popcorn but if nothing else in my writing journey, I have learned that I need to tell little voice to shut up and who wears that much pink anyway, quit worrying about if the quarterback of the hypothetical football team likes me and keep writing my way because it is the only way that will work for me. 

I'm getting 500 words a day.  I really want 1,000 but if doing so means these scenes don't pack the punch I need them too, it's not worth more for crap.  I have a CP who is querying right now and I want to be querying too, but if I rush that, there is going to more frustration than I have now. 

It's easy to forget that people who are at a different stage than we are have a different process, but the same process.  They struggled through writing, got stuck in scenes, found out a character wasn't quite working.  Sometimes we forget that, when we see their cute covers, hear about super-agent who loves them, eat too many cinnamon bears hearing about their awesome time at wherever that we want to be. 

But if we resist?  If we put off that desire for that feeling RIGHT NOW, just think about how much better it will be for us when we get it! 

So writers in the trenches (and you do know that we all return with each new book, right?), keep writing.  Keep trudging and plowing and typing, even just one measly letter at a time, because the words we write, however slow they may make the journey from brain to fingers, are words that get us closer to where we want to be. 

What's your snack of choice when wallowing in a fit of envy? How do you work through the hard scenes to write? What are your plans to be further ahead this time next week than you are today?

17 comments :

Kyra Lennon said...

I completely understand this feeling! But you're right. Rushing ahead does nothing but slow you down in the long run.

I've learned to push through the hard scenes while doing CampNaNo this month. I'm not going to make the 50,000 mark because I got busy with my other book, but knowing I MUST write meant that I just knuckled down and did it. Turns out, those scenes aren't nearly as bad as I thought lol!

Joshua said...

I'm at that exact point, too. I'm thinking I have about 10-15K left until the end of the WIP, but I'm stuck on the rising action to the climax. Just can't get past it.

Cassie Mae said...

I'm such a silly girl and always want to be querying when I'm drafting and drafting when I'm querying. So I eat a ton of Red Vines and fart around on Facebook :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, I can totally feel your pain. And if you want the words to be good ones, you need to give them whatever time they need.

It still surprises me how I can get through 7 pages of editing one day and am stuck on one page for 3 days later.

Hard is a very good description.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

That's great advice. Good luck in pulling those words out of your head.

S.P. Bowers said...

My snack of choice while wallowing? Everything I can get my hands on....

I totally understand this. It's so easy to compare ourselves to others who aren't in the same place with their writing, don't have the same real life expectations, or just gets to go to conferences when we can't (pouts). But like you said, it's not worth trying to do more if it turns out as garbage. We just need to be the best at what we're doing. Good luck with the words!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, someone else who writes slow!
On the first draft, I am slowed by perfectionism and trying to choose the right word. I'm also a bare bones writer, so the first draft lacks a lot of depth. I just go back and add it later. As long as I can see the basic story on the page, I can work through filling it out without a problem.

Matthew MacNish said...

This is very timely for me. I've only been getting a couple hundred words down a day lately. It's partly the part of the book I'm at, but it's mostly life getting in the way of having time to write. I think I'm okay, as long as I keep moving slightly forward.

Brent Wescott said...

I'm a follower of the "insert emotional scene here" strategy. But as you say, that causes a problem when it's time to actually write that scene. Yesterday I wrote the same scene three different times, and it's still not very good. So I'm moving on to another scene that won't be very good. But at least you get words to work with by doing this.

KarenG said...

That's where I am now in mine. Final edits, last chance to be brilliant lol.

Tonja said...

I think it's better to take those tough scenes one at a time without rushing it. I don't feel competitive with other writers although I probably should.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I have no idea what you must be going through as I write poetry and is different from a story, It must be so gratifying when your book is finished
that bit I can relate to.

Yvonne.

Nick Wilford said...

I do relate to this. I was trying to write 2000 words a day to finish my WIP this week, but I've found 1500 is more like my comfort level (hence my deadline is pushed back a week). You have to find the rhythm that works for you, and although a lot of things can be fixed in edits, it's good to start with a MS that makes basic sense! Particularly at the end, I'm often referring back to earlier portions of the book, so that all takes time too.

Leigh Covington said...

Oh man! Patience is not my virtue. This can be aggravating, but like you say...worth it in the end. :)

Nicole said...

Thanks for this!I'm in the same boat with trying to meet the 1,000 word goal. This was a great motivational reminder. ;)

elizabeth seckman said...

Here I thought I was alone in my in-WIP notes...things like research this; get this chick a better name; and this really blows, rewrite later.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh yes! Too right you are! It's so hard these days to stick with going at your own pace and taking the time to perfect when you want to just slap some junk together just to get going/querying/etc. But you're right, it's much BETTER to do it the right way.