June 15, 2015

A Writer Has to Do What???

Someone asked me the other day, "Didn't you write a book?" To which I could only respond with a sigh and an admission that "Yes, I did write a book, but after having a publisher review it, I was informed that it wasn't publishable". Which, in all honesty, is exactly what I wanted to know, and I'm so thankful he took the time to look over my subpar work and critique it.

Since then I've been working on improving my writing, including reading what other people have written and soaking up writing guides and how tos. But those darned voices just don't want to be patient. They can't wait for me to have the ideal time to write or the ideal way of writing. So I just keep writing down what they tell me and adding to their number constantly. It's like a snowball that starts out small but the longer it travels downhill, the more snow it picks up and it keeps getting bigger and bigger and rolling faster and faster. That's how my brain works--once I latch onto an idea, more and more ideas start clamoring for my attention.

Of course, a brain that is bombarded with plots and characters all begging to be written at once leaves me with the dilemma of where to start? What usually happens is I run with an idea until I have the entire story plotted and outlined and I can walk you through the book, chapter by chapter, filling in backstory as I go. But it's not actually written out in book form---just detailed outlining. In fact, I have 13 books outlined in that fashion (not including my not-yet-ready-for-prime-time written novel). I also have 5 more that I have bare bones outlines on.

So why don't I have a shelf full of novels that have at least been self-published? Because I am a perfectionist. And a procrastinator. I have this gigantic wall in front of me that flashes in neon lights telling me that if I can't write it out perfectly, then why start? And so I just continue to hammer out the outlined details. Do I think it actually needs to be perfect right out of the gate? Not at all. But that wall sure seems to get bigger and bigger despite what my logical brain says.

I was spurred on to write my "novel" several years ago when MC was out of town for 3 weeks visiting his mom while she was sick. He left on Christmas Eve and I was overwhelmed with my minions and needed an escape. So I started writing. And writing. And writing. I finished my first complete draft in 5 weeks. Of course, I also didn't sleep at night. I would tuck the babies into bed and then I would stay up and write all night instead of having to go to sleep alone. I would then catch up on my sleep while the kids napped. It worked pretty well.

Obviously I don't have the kind of free time anymore and having to wake up at 6:15 to get kids ready for school doesn't exactly lend itself to all nighters. But I could make some time, especially now that school is out for the summer. And even if it's only a few minutes here and there. So I'm making a vow to do just that. I have a notebook I keep in my purse along with a handful of pens, and I'm going to make an effort to write when I can--actual paragraphs and not just more details. While it may not be as fast as a laptop, any words are better than none, right?

And who knows? Maybe someday I'll actually have something worth printing.

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