Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG - January 2016

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!



Okay, I kind of want to laugh at myself. A couple of months ago I posted here about how I attended a writing retreat where the prolific author Kevin J. Anderson was in attendance. He had great suggestions for increasing your productivity, etc. I was inspired. I wanted to emulate him. I wasn't dreaming of becoming as prolific as he is but simply increasing my output.

I had ten days off over the holidays. And I ran into creative roadblocks. It was time well used, but as I've been working through the story decisions, I realized something.

I'm never going to be a fast writer.

Oh, I can crank out a 50,000 word first draft in 17 days, but the finished product? Nothing fast about that process for me. When I try to force my brain to move faster, it resists. It's like that old mule the miner can't get to move for anything.

I'm relieved to admit this to myself. My creative brain is taking a little sigh as I write this. But I'm also disappointed. I keep asking, "When is this going to get easier?"

Do any of you have any secrets? Or do you struggle like I do?


45 comments:

  1. I'm not a fast writer either. It helps we realize that or we'll make ourselves nuts trying to keep up with everyone else.

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  2. I'm the same way. I'm a fast first-drafter. The editing process for me takes so much longer!! Do you use the "sticky notes plot line" idea? I may try it for editing my WIP.

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    1. Sticky notes plot line? I've used sticky notes on a white board to figure out if I wanted to move things. I use Scrivener now for that.

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  3. It took 40 years for some writers to write their masterpieces :)

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    1. True. I'd like to be a little faster than that, especially since I started so old. :D

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  4. The simple truth is we all operate at our own pace. Some of us can crank out words, some of us can't. I can rip out 4,000 words like I did recently, but overall, things move very slowly for me. It's great to find inspiration in others, and to use people as a measuring stick of sorts, but we can't necessarily do everything the same as everyone else. Find what works for you and stick with it. Change what you can if it makes you do what you do better, but don't get hung up on it. Hang in there, Donna!

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    1. Thanks, Jeff. I think I CAN be faster. I just have to figure it out. I was hoping I'd have figured it out a little faster. Do you see a theme there? :D

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  5. No secrets here. I'm only fast when I have an outside deadline, but the more I write, the easier it comes and therefore the faster I am. (Although I'm a bit of a snail. That might not be the case if I had a few less distractions, but I like my distractions. They smile, and laugh, and giggle and make life worth living.)

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    1. And I find that when I have a deadline my brain (the creative part) freezes up.

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    2. I'll second that. The pressure kills the muse like a bug under a boot.

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    3. Right? It's not so bad when the boot first touches down...

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  6. I've never been fast. I can crank out a few thousand words a day, but that's when I'm in rough draft mode. The real writing slows me down. :)

    Also, I'm trying to let all my bloggy friends know I've moved. The new blog is at http://libbyheily.com/blog/

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    1. Sometimes to crank out a few thousand words in a day is excruciatingly hard for me. I know people who vomit words. *jealous*

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  7. I find the same. Once I have an idea, I can write a short story quickly and edit it almost immediately. However, I have been putting the final - final - final touches to my novel for.... ages. That's all I've done over the Christmas holiday and I'm no where near finished. BUT, I think working through things at my own pace (which still means I work incredibly hard) is better than becoming disappointed with myself because I can't work as quickly as someone else. It was the same when I was studying (many years ago). It always took me a lot longer to complete an assignment than most of the group. But I got good results and that is all that matters in the end. Think of it in terms of a long roadtrip. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get from A to B, and things are bound to go wrong along the way, but in the end you arrive(even though a little bedraggled :)) Wishing you lots of continued success Donna.

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    1. I've even found that short stories aren't easy for me. In many ways they're more difficult. I want to expand on some things that I can't in a shorter work. I'm not giving up though!

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  8. Long ago I used to beat myself up because I didn't write every day. But later on I realized I write the way the works for me. I have great spurts where I'm very prolific and then... dry periods. Sometimes looooong dry periods, years. I don't feel guilty about it any more.

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    1. I just started so late. I have a limited number of years, and I'm old enough to realize it. So many stories in me want to get out.

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  9. I'm not fast either. I just want to enjoy the process, and when I'm not productive it's because I'm busy doing other important things. Happy New Year, Donna!

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    1. Thank you for that reminder, Natalie. I didn't begrudge the time with family over the holidays. It was awesome time away.

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  10. Ha, ha, ha! Secrets? I've written two full length novels during NANO and can't get them polished up and ready to send out YEARS later. talk about my brain resisting. I keep hoping that 2016 will be the year, but so far it's only the 6th and I'm already running behind.

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    1. I feel ya, girl! I'm trying to take a deep breath and be realistic. And figure this out, so while I may be methodical, I can also--as Natalie said--enjoy the process.

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  11. lol no secrets are had, just keeping at it at my pad.

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    1. What? Mr. Prolific has no secrets? And your book all rhyme. If I had to do that, you could just shoot me. lol

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  12. I'm a slow writer, or self editor so I'm hearing you. At a writers' festival I attended a session by one of my favourite chick lit authors. She staggered me by saying she writes her books in 6 weeks. I told her that was crazy. She said no, she spends ages researching, planning etc, then starts to write. All done in a short time. I know I sadly lack with the planning! But I love how this author visits the places she writes about and times the train rides, drinks at bars, eats at the restaurants where her heroine will etc etc. Good stuff. I could do that...:-)

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    1. It's interesting. One thing Kevin Anderson said was that we need to write when we write and not edit. We use different parts of our brain. If we try to edit in the middle of being creative, we kill the creative flow.

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  13. Even though I completed the NaNoWriMo challenge a few years ago, it didn't come without a lot of bad writing.

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    1. My first draft is usually full of bad writing. It's really my outline, when I get the sketch of the story down.

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  14. Also a mule. I'm exactly like you, I can draft fast, but polishing up that mess takes a lot of time. I feel better knowing I'm in good company.

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    1. :D Maybe I'll just forgive myself for not being the hare and plod my little tortoise self along.

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  15. I know what you mean. I have been in the planning stage so long now its ludicrous!

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    1. Well, at some point, we really do need to send it out in the world and move on. It's one of Neil Gaiman's 8 bits of advice.

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  16. I give myself mini breaks. For example, I finished a draft within two weeks last Sunday. Since then, I've been doing minor revisions on another draft and finished a blog interview. This weekend, I'm looking at that draft again. I'll do some heavy writing followed by some light writing so that I don't become burned out.

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    1. Burn out is a real concern if we're not careful, even if we're not fast at it.

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  17. 17 days for a 50 000 word first draft? Wow. You're a writing machine.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. A writing machine of garbage. :D At first.

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  18. I used to be a fast writer, but now I've learned the value of taking it slow. I love being consumed by a story. It's the best feeling there is, and I'm always sorry when it goes away. Enjoy the process, Donna!

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    1. I like that, Emily. "Enjoy the process." I need to remember that.

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  19. Great post, Donna and I certainly can relate. I'll never be a fast writer and I'm okay with that. Right now my life is full with kids, a job, and a house to take care of. I try to squeeze exercise, reading, time with hubby, and taking care of house during my free time. It can be exhausting!

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    1. Kevin frequently first drafts when he's out hiking. He records it and then has someone transcribe it. He's already outlined extensively and carries reminder cards. I may consider doing something like that. Someday when I can afford the transcriber. :D

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  20. Nothing about writing comes fast for me either. Every scene seems to take forever to write--and that's just to get it into good enough shape to give to my crit partners. I keep hoping that the process will speed up, but no such luck. It is what it is.

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