Aug 1, 2012

IWSG -Getting over Timelines

First, I did some tweaking to the blog after the critique on Monday - let me know what you think, issues, like, hate...bring it, I teach teenagers :)

Today's post is in conjunction with Alex's IWSG which I realize every time I participate really is a brilliant idea.

About two years ago, Maggie Stiefvater wrote her Dear John letter to NaNoWriMo because while the idea behind the program was great, it wasn't aligning with the way she writes and the pressure to finish something in a timeline that didn't allow her to write her way was stifling her creativity. 

At the time I thought it was a little silly - everyone wants to just get the words underway and write and get a story because after all we all have to revise anyway why not have lots more to revise, right?

I'm starting to see her wisdom. 

I'm writing my first book.  I have had other stories that I have written and they are cool concepts but I didn't feel the drive to finish them like I feel the drive to finish this one.  And if you ask my CP's, I picked on hell of a first book.  It's a hard flippin' book to write and hopefully I'll get it done well enough that someone besides the three of them will have read it. 

In July, I just wanted to be done.  I wanted to sit down and crank out the rest and have this beautiful thing to tweak, but life happened more than I wanted it to and the time to write was not what I'd hoped it would be.  But not one to completely give up, I did get in several writing sessions, quickly discovering that I'm not a fast writer.  I can type fast, when I know what needs to be said I can write fast, but I drafted this willy nilly and I don't know what exactly needs to be said so it's slow going. 

And that's okay because what I'm creating is fleshing out better than I thought I was capable of making.  And I have learned that there are methods besides those that I've tried that should make writing the next time around better for me. 

Yes, it takes me longer to draft than I would like, but and I have total progress envy over those who draft at lightning speed.  And I would like to say that it is going to save me in the revision process, but I don't know if that's true yet.  However, if I know it's going to be 10,000 hours to be successful, I would really like to make those 10,000 hours as quality as I can.

And even though she's writing YA and I'm writing Women's Lit, what if my method means I will eventually be able to write like Maggie? 

What realizations have you had about yourself as a writer? 

19 comments :

Clay said...

That letter is awesome! So well written and the conclusion is full of great advice. Thanks for linking that.
I am giving NaNo a try this month (I am crazy!) and I hope to have multiple realisations throughout the month. My current realisation is that since starting a blog, I am more comfortable to admit that I write. I had no idea that things like IWSG would bring on a confident attitude to writing but it has, and mainly through helping others. Cheers.

Tracy said...

Hi Tasha - I'm going through something similar. I thought I'd be querying my ms last December. Ha! I'm still editing - and it's not going well at this point.

As a writer I've learned: it takes a long time to tell a great story!

:)

Kathleen said...

I did NaNo last year and I was able to win. The book that came out of it was bare, to say the least, but it was salvageable. I don't know if I'm going to do it again this year or not. I wrote another book outside of NaNo and it is the better first draft of the two, but I didn't have as much motivation to finish it and it took over a year. We'll see how the next couple of months go before I decide anything on NaNo. Great post!

Cassie Mae said...

Love the new look!

And seriously, everyone writes differently. Artists don't all paint the same way, great teachers don't all have the same methods, anybody who's learned how to play an instrument can vouch for this, too. There are guidelines and stuff to help you succeed, but you form them into something that works for you. As long as you're working hard and having fun, it won't matter how fast you get that manuscript ready to see more eyes. :)

Lisa Regan said...

I think NaNo is great but I can't do it. I'm the tortoise, not the hare and I've learned to be okay with that. The trick is to figure out how YOU work as a writer and adjust your goals accordingly. For example, my life happens all over the place and I could never meet a daily writing quota, so I've adjusted it to a weekly quota. This way I can meet it and not feel like a failure! Don't feel badly. My average is two years to write one book--that's with working full time and having a family and social media, etc. Everyone goes at their own pace. That's not as important as the finished product. You'll get there and I'm sure your book will be fabulous!

J. A. Bennett said...

Great point! You have to write in the way that is best for you. If you don't, you can expect all your words to be crap. Great post!

I do have one comment about your blog design, the header (with your name) doesn't match the rest of the blog and to me the black is not your personality. I'd love to see a little more color on here :)

Michelle Gregory said...

i think it's great you're learning to write like Tasha. just my 2 cents.

Angela Cothran said...

Amen Maggie! I'm a very slow writer and NaNo just stresses me out. I love the idea of goals, but they need to fit you. Great post :)

S.P. Bowers said...

I did NaNo once. I won and it was a great experience but not one I need to recreate. I am a slow writer too. And while I can draft fast when inspiration strikes mostly I'm slow. I think everyone would be much happier if they realized they didn't need to write like someone else.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm not a NaNo person. I can't spew words. I'm not a going back person but a getting it right the first time person.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I think Nano sounds great, and I have big respect for those who do it. But yeah, I could NEVER make that work.

Leigh Covington said...

Love this Tasha. Me and you think a lot alike! I think it's great for people who can do Nano, but it doesn't work for me. It would be great if it did, but I need more time to plot and think - AND... of course life with 3 little kiddos is important too!

And I'm always here if you need a beta!!! :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can't be slower than I am!
It takes me a little over two month to finally get the first draft on paper. Drives me crazy, because it's my least favorite part. Editing is much more fun.
You can do it!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've realized the hardest part for me is the first chapter. I usually redo the first part of a book ten times before I like where I start it.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I love the new look! :)

NaNo works for some people and for others it doesn't. That's perfectly okay! We all have a different system for writing which makes us all unique writers. :)

Kelley Lynn said...

This look is great!

I have learned that I am the opposite of you :) haha. I need to pound out my first draft fast. (One MS was ten days, another was just less than three weeks) Of course, then I have a crapton (yes, that's a unit of measure ;)) of work to do in edits :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have spent whole days on a single paragraph and then some days I knock off a chapter in an hour. I think the difference is the amount of pre-daydreaming I do on it.

Mama J said...

Everyone approaches writing differently. I think the important thing is that you enjoy writing the story. All the words will come in your own time.

Melissa said...

I don't get NaNo. It's not for me. But if it works for someone else, by all means go for it.

Fwiw, I'm learning that it's better for me to take my time and write it right the first time rather than have major revisions later. If you get better quality that way, take your time. :)

IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls the list again. :P)