Tuesday, June 6, 2017

IWSG #13 - Sage Old Advice

Hello all. It's a new month which means a new IWSG blog post. Find out more about this helpful group HERE.

Their mission statement:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

So for a while I thought about what I wanted to write about this month then as I was partaking in my first ever co-hosted twitter chat on Sunday the topic came to me. The question for the chat was: What's the primary thing slowing down your writing?

Various answers came in and are still coming in and I shared my own. One answer that was shared by a few, myself included, was wanting 'perfection' out of the first draft. Of course that prompted several people to chime in reminding us about that sage old advice:


And while in theory that is great, it's not how everyone can think. Some people can just let the words flow knowing that in revisions is where you make things pretty. I am NOT one of those people. I can't just put the words down for the sake of getting them out. While I know they won't be perfect, they need to be as perfect as they can be for that moment.

The hashtag that I sort of used offhandedly to make fun of myself (#turtlewriters) brought others that were in the same boat. I'm slow. Super slow when it comes to writing. And I'm that way for various reasons, one of which being I can't just write without overthinking. I have no idea how I'm going to make it through my attempt at NaNo come November, but I'll worry about that another day.

An example of my slowness, I've been working on the same chapter for a week, week and a half maybe. I sit, I stare, I let the scene play out in my head. I obsess over how to get the words, the body language, the emotions for the moment all right. I can't just get the basics of the scene done and move on to the next. I've tried but then I end up going back the next day or maybe the same day to tweak and poke at it until I'm somewhat satisfied and can move forward.

It's my process. Everyone's is different and that is mine. No matter how many times I try to tell myself that first drafts are meant to be 'bad' as it were, I can't function like that. I have gotten somewhat better in one regard, once a chapter is deemed 'finished' I don't go back to tweak it. That used to be my thing, I'd finish it, then mess with it for days, weeks, instead of just moving on to the next one. In my hope to finally get this long over due WIP completed I've forced myself to not go back. That's helped some, but hasn't cured me completely.

Being slow sucks. I see people talk about putting out several books in a year and I can't do one. It is a hit to the confidence for sure. I'm doing the 365 Club in another group and when I input my daily numbers I feel a little bummed with my 100-200 words when others are in the thousands. I still push forward, realizing it's not some sort of competition and I have to write and work at a pace that fits me. Eventually I'll reach the finish line, just maybe at a turtle's pace.

So what advice have you heard, or been given that you can't follow?

Each month there's an optional question and this month I decided to answer.

Question: Did you ever say "I quit"? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

***My answer is yes. Self-doubt is a real killer. There are times I've been so frustrated with myself and the writing process I wanted to walk away. And I did for a while. This current WIP collected dust for a year or so. Two things happened. 1) I found this group. May made a year since my first post for IWSG. The encouraging words I get in the comments during the blog hop, plus the welcoming atmosphere of the FB group peeked my interest again in writing. 2) I got fan mail. I got a couple of emails from readers asking when the next book was coming. To know there were even just a handful of people out there waiting on me to produce something made me feel good. A little bad too since I've been making them wait, but mostly good. They are interested and took time out of their day to not only read my book, but message me about wanting the next one. Both of those combined renewed my drive to get this done, even if I'm still slow about it.

Thanks for stopping by
~Meka



18 comments:

  1. We all do have our own process. I feel slow, too and love your #turtlewriters hashtag. I also can't do the "vomit draft" . . . I write and revise at the same time in these loops and cycles, so that when I get to "then end" for this first time, it's really more like a second draft than a first. But, you know what? It works for me. If I *don't* do that, I'm so frustrated by the pile of gobbledygook first draft, that I just abandon it.

    Stick by your guns. Everyone has to write her OWN book, the way she does it.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Yes we all do. LOL 'vomit draft' nice name for it. That's me. I've redone my first chapter alone at least 3-4 times and will probably do it again before the story is complete. It irks me if a scene isn't right so I have to fuss with it until it is. Slows me down, but it's how I function.

      At least I'm not alone and don't feel crazy for working this way

      thanks for stopping by

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  2. Doubt is the worst. As insecure writers, it's always there, isn't it? I know mine isn't too far away.

    We are all so glad you found the IWSG. :)

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    1. Doubt is the worst. It can really cripple you and take away that drive and passion. I'm glad I found this group as well. It's always good to know you aren't alone in how you feel.

      thanks for stopping by

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  3. I used to be very much like this. I was trying to fix things up and make everything 'right' as I go. It took many, many years of writing for me to give up that mindset and just get the words out. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with going slow, but you might eventually be surprised at how your mindset changes. I certainly was!

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    1. Yep, that's me. I've tried to not be as nit-picky, but I still am to a certain extent. I've gotten better by not going back to go over completed chapters and continuing to move forward. I think I'm most worried about there being some hole that I'll miss that will require some major adjustment during the editing process. I would like to avoid that.

      thanks for stopping by

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  4. LOL. I'm slow too. My system is to write one day, come back the next, edit what I worked on to get back into the flow of things, then add on. If it weren't for my outlines, I'd never get to the end with this process, but because I know the targets, I do make progress.

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    1. I had that system. Only I would spend the whole day tweaking what I'd written and not adding anything new. :( I don't outline. I tried (not that hard, but still I tried) and failed. I should attempt it again at some point, it's my goal to hopefully help with NaNo

      thanks for stopping by

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  5. I do Nanowrimo almost every year but I "cheat" and self edit as I write. I don't want total garbage to edit later. I'd rather the trash pile be a little smaller :)

    Here's my IWSG June post: how to survive the 'little quits'

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    1. This will be my first year attempting. I'm sure I'll self edit as I go, I won't be able to help it. I just hope it won't slow me down too much.

      thanks for stopping by

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  6. One thing I've learned by attending cons is that every author has that different process, like you said. Some are fast, some are slow. Some wait to the end to edit, some edit as they write. And neither is more successful than the other in the end. That helps me deal with my own process.

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    1. Acceptance is key. I have to learn to accept that certain aspects are just part of my process and not fight it. Get it done how I have to and eventually I'll get to the finish line.

      thanks for stopping by

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  7. Hey Meka,

    Thank you for sharing this. I had the same experience that I wrote about on my IWSG post--only publishing one book a year while others do it every other month. You're a slow writer--nothing wrong with that. I'm a big fan of the first draft being crap, but man, it takes long work to get it good. I'm an awfully slow reviser.

    Advice I've heard (I'm trying to follow but it's hard) is don't compare yourself to other writers. Don't compare successes or failures. Go at your own pace. Be proud of your accomplishments, big and small. Advice I follow is set small goals for yourself (something like "I'll write at least 100 words today"). Once you meet your goal, treat yourself to an award.

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    P.S. I do NaNo. We can do it together :)

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    1. Yes it's hard not to wonder what's wrong with you when you see how fast people can crank out their books. My first draft is probably still crap even though I stress over trying to make it the opposite. LOL such is life I guess. I'm slow on both ends because by the time I'm done the first time around I'm already sick of the words.

      I try not to compare, but it's hard. I see the numbers on the 365 spreadsheet and wonder how it's possible with some of the numbers people enter daily. Oh well, onward and upward right?

      thanks for stopping by

      and sure thing on NaNo. Gonna see how I can make a cabin I think for the turtle writer thing.

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  8. I'm a slow writer as well! And a perfectionist. I spend months on an outline before I begin to write because I want that first draft to shine. So I can relate.

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    1. Welcome fellow slow writer. I have to learn to outline, I don't currently. Pantser here. LOL I do take a long time on that first draft though for the same reason, I want it to be as close to the final product as I can get it.

      thanks for stopping by

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  9. If it makes you feel any better, I know plenty of successful authors who can't manage one book per year, let alone multiples. The rise of self-publishing has increased the pressure for authors to crank out book after book, but not everyone can (or should) do that.

    You do you, and the success will follow. The letters from readers are a really good sign that your work is resonating.

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    1. Thanks J.H. that does make me feel better. :) I just think I'm moving way too slow sometimes. I don't want to rush a book, but at the same time I don't want each one to take me 2+ years to write.

      I can't rush my characters, they are as stubborn as my kids sometimes, so I just have to take it as I can.

      thanks for stopping by

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