I spent the week mucking around revising a book. I've already written 450 pages. I've got a solid plot, good dialogue, smart sub plot, etc. But this book is a new genre for me. I really want it to work. (Read-paranoid I'm in over my head.) I'm doing everything I can to make the book "right." So I make the mistake of doing what "everyone" says must be done-not what I "know" works for me. I muck-I spend hours looking at individual paragraphs and sentences and word choices. After all I've been told is the only way to sell.
When I first started writing, I wrote two drafts and the book was done and on it's way out of my house. I got back good rejection letters-hand written not form rejections. Then I joined writer's groups-went to workshops to learn the craft- to figure out how to get better. I learned people actually look at their paragraphs and make sure they don't have the same word starting a paragraph for at least three pages. They look at word choice. They work on sentence structure. Ugh- are you kidding me? You can't see the story for the trees.
But they must be right- after all they said they were right. Everyone in the room nodded and agreed. Blogs are written every day about it. Critique partners go on and on. So I slowed down and followed the rules. My rejection letters turned from hand written to form. What? So, I dug down harder-working more craft-trying harder to pick each word just right...
Well meaning "craft" people are all very convincing that this is what must be done to produce a good book- to be salable-to be professional. Slow down- slog through. (besides if I don't send it out I won't get rejected, right?) So, I spend hours-slog along-trying my best to "fix" each word while keeping my own voice and not over polishing. Mostly I end of feeling like a complete loser as a writer...you know-scarlet L on my forehead.
Then I read a blog by Dean Wesley Smith best selling author of over 90 published novels.
He spoke of writing fast-quickly and well-something I did naturally before I got paranoid and started looking at the words... (It's a great blog-hop over and take a look.) Something he said struck a cord with me.
He said- "Writing slow is an invention of those who know nothing about the creative process, for the most part. Teachers love to believe that writing slow means writing better (mostly because they have fewer papers to grade that way). And rewriting is a myth that has built up also from people who really don’t understand the creative process.
That said, every writer works differently. There is no right way, and if cranking out ten words a day and rewriting then over and over works for you and you are selling tons of novels, then for heaven’s sake, don’t change it. But if you are doing that and it’s not working very well, or you are listening to your agent about how to rewrite because you think your agent is a better writer than you are (And if so, why is the agent only earning 15% and not writing on their own?), you might want to step back and hit some basics.
So, how do you train yourself to write from that creative side, write faster, and maybe even write an entire novel in under three weeks? Answer: You have to get out of your own way and believe you can do it."
Wow- trust your personal creative process. I am an idiot. I let paranoia throw me off my own process. What was I thinking? I jump up- do a happy dance! This week I'm sending out queries.
My point-whatever your creative process- never let anyone tell you you must do it their way to be "right" - trust your own way. It's the one God-given thing you have. Find the joy in it. Cheers.