THE END-ways to not panic

August 23, 2007 at 5:20 pm 2 comments

I’m about 5k words or less from writing THE END on I SAID NEVER. I’m at 66k words and have a very long road ahead of me.

What have I learned?

Getting the story down is the most important with a first draft, at least for me. I can write beautiful, thought provoking prose later when I revise.This has been the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn. I’ve been able to tell myself it’s okay to write crap and it’s okay to let go of my need for perfection. Not everything I write needs to shine the moment I write it. I can’t stop writing when it doesn’t come out ready and publishable.(That’s just psychotic and unproductive) I can write stuff I know I’m going to cut later. If I want to describe how a room looks for three pages just to get a sense of who my character is by what they notice then I can go for it. I’ve given myself permission to write. Just write.

The second thing I’ve learned is the only way I can see my writing flaws is to write another book. You learn by the process of writing. I’m not saying getting feedback or even participating in online workshops, or what have you, doesn’t work, but if you don’t apply what you’ve learned by writing then you’ve wasted your money.

By writing crap just to get pages down I can spot when Ive left crap in my previous novel. Or more honestly when I was being a lazy writer and left scenes in that didn’t need to be in my novel. There is a thin line between beating yourself up and being more critical of what you write. There’s a saying to not write what a reader will skip over. If you are reading something you wrote and you skip over it, cut it. Don’t look back because nine times out of ten you won’t even remember that you’ve cut it.

Lastly, I have got to believe in what I’m writing and that what I’m writing is worth reading. All this trickles down to writing the best damn book you can and submitting when you’re ready and realizing the catch-22 is you can’t get published if you don’t submit.

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Entry filed under: inspiration, the process, writing.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patricia W.  |  August 27, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Timely post. Because I’m definitely writing crap and I had to give myself permission to keep going, encourage myself to keep going, force myself to keep going.

    But then I knew it was worth it when I explained to my middle schooler about the writing process, as he lamented about his first draft of a creative writing assignment. It wasnt’ bad but was as sensory as the teacher wanted. So we talked process. I wanted him to know it was important to get the story out. He could always go back and fix it. So can I.

  • 2. Mel  |  August 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    This one thing is what most writers forget. I really think the first novel is just us having fun. We forget what it feels like once we realize their is more to writing than just putting words to page.

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