Home   |   LCS Prints Store   |   About Me   |   FAQ   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January and the Insecure Writer




This is January's post for  Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.  Click on the link to find other participants.

I have always been a late bloomer, one to consider things, to analyze the ramifications before moving forward.    (I wish this trait had resulted in the practice of thinking before I speak, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic, as they say.)   This quality has resulted in a long life of waiting before I act –and you know what they say about “she who hesitates.”  
 
Anyway, experiences in more recent history delivered the message that chasing after what I want feels a lot better than delaying—which is why I dared myself to write Novel #1, the first draft of which I completed early in 2011.  I went through one re-write before abandoning it. I didn’t know how to make it any better than it was, and trust me, it wasn’t good.

Novel two was born, no word of a lie, when the first sentence came to me in the middle of one sleepless night.  I wrote it down and let it sit on my desk for several months until I was ready to write the story it belonged to.  During the time I was writing it, I took a fiction writing workshop and joined two writing groups, where I have learned more about conflict and back story, character building, dialogue and story arcs.  As a result, well, I have a little hope for it this second work

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says, “For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts."  The insecure writer in me is well aware that my own first draft is a piece of mud covered dung. I have a goal now, one that looms large and scary, of editing the heck out of it and then letting some folks I trust read it and critique it.  
For the year ahead, I’m wishing for the vision to see what is broken, the openness to listen, the strength to respond to difficult criticism, and the skill to make my story cohesive and readable.  

Then we’ll see if there is a query letter in my future.

I guess my practice of taking things slow hasn’t changed much after all.

29 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

I think you'll do just fine. Just put one foot in front of the other. Baby steps, baby steps. If you look at the whole thing all at once, you tend to (well I do anyway) freak out.

No worries Liza, set small attainable goals, and you'll be fine.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's not a race, so take your time! Besides, maybe you needed time to simmer.

alberta ross said...

slow sounds good to me - theres a family saying here that I take 3 years to buy anything 1 year to decide I want it 1 year to research it make sure of which I want and the 3rd year to actually go buy it:) I'm a little quicker in my writing now bit it did take 50 years until I settled down to just do it- you sound quite speedy to me!!

Tonja said...

It's better for me to write a chapter, then edit it until I love it, then write another. It's too much for me to have 20K words or more of crap to revise all at once. Good luck and stick with it!!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

That's the glorious thing about writing - we have the right to take it slow! Good luck - new follower :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Those are great goals!!!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Liza, I think that's one of the hardest things for me. I want my first draft perfect, not shitty, lol!

I have to struggle to let the story just flow without the editor on my shoulder saying:

"that's backstory, you're telling not showing, hello? you do have an extensive vocabulary, how about using it. You so suck!

Hang in there Liza.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Jan Morrison said...

As one who adores your writing, take it any way at any speed you like! Just keep doing it. much love to you in this new year!

Nancy Thompson said...

Yes, take your time, and work with as many critique partners as you can. And crit their work, as well. Then read, read, read in your genre. Study books on craft. Writing the Breakout Novel, The Fire in Fiction (both by Donald Maass), and Plot & Structure (by James Scott Bell) are three of the best out there.

Don't give up. Anything worth doing takes a lot of effort.

Cate Masters said...

Writing's not all about getting the words down. Thinking about the story line takes time. It will all come together.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Too bad the universe isn't in as big as hurry for us to create a perfect product as we are. But it'll come in due time. Hang in there.

Laura said...

I'm with Alex- there's no rushing these things - plots take time to cook. As do writers. I'm still far too al dente to be served yet!
Nice to meet you!
Lx

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Our innate nature does seem to always come out in the end, doesn't it? I've heard that for things to work out right, they might be slow but never late. Your writing is so savory to read and maybe it cannot be rushed. I'm confident that things will work out for you as they should.

Old Kitty said...

Keep at it lovely Liza!! Time is on your side - your confidence is ever growing and of course you will get to that query stage and beyond!! All the best! Take care
x

Nicki Elson said...

Your wish for the new year shows that you're way ahead of many, MANY writers - it won't surprise me a bit if you end up loving the revision process this year. It's an opportunity to apply all you've learned and once you get rolling, it's wicked fun. ;)

Catherine Denton said...

Everyone has their own beautiful pace. I'm a bit of a slow-bie too. ;)

And by the way, YAY, you did it!!! I came here through your link! *throws confetti*

Jacqueline Howett said...

Sounds like you have got a plan.


...said the tortoise to the hare.

The slow way won the race.

Its good to stew a while, also.

All the best to you in 2012

WritingNut said...

Don't you worry.. you will definitely get there. It isn't a race, but you know what they say about slow and steady :)

Happy New Year to you!

Stephen Tremp said...

Like anne said, take baby steps (What About Bob). I do this all the time. After a week or a month, I'm surprised at how much I've accomplished. Best wishes to you and yours for 2012!

Hunter Emkay said...

Best wishes on your editing goal this year. One of my own, too, done in my own timeframes. Lovely post, and comments to remind me that it all takes time, and small steps from the 'shitty first draft'.

jbchicoine said...

I'm all for slow! Every time I try to do something fast, something else suffers...nothing wrong with calculated steps as you go along...

Carol Kilgore said...

You're becoming a writer :)

We've all gone through this process, and most of us continue to go through it just learning different things as we travel down Writing Road.

Have fun on your journey!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

At least you are approaching it with the right attitude.

Mary F said...

I over analyze so much that I have a hard time getting posts out on my blogs... I would probably stress myself right into the nut house if I ever tried to write a novel. Ha!

The way I see it, the best things take time. Whether it's a classic boeuf bourguignon or the great American novel, nurturing and tending to what we create is what makes it worth the effort. (leave it to me to go with a food reference, right? LOL)

I love the way you write, Liza. Keep nurturing your passion...
Mary (Mrs B)

Damon said...

what a greaaat post love your blog =) follow

Patsy said...

Thinking things through is OK, but we also need to get on and write - even if we're not ready. If we don't, we'll never get anything done.

Gina said...

Your plan sounds great and I'm sure that if you stick to it, you'll write a hell of a novel. I've written as many as four drafts before I think a piece is ready to show and I've learned that the longer it passes between re-writes, there's much more I can fix, so I'm guessing your technique of taking your time will really pay off. Best of lucks!

Visiting from Diary of a Writer in Progress.

Ella said...

I love your resolutions and how open you are the to process. I just got a copy of this book. I glanced at it years ago, but now I'm ready to read it~ I wish you the best; Happy New Year!

Anne K. Albert said...

I've always had a difficult time accepting that first draft as a thing of crap, but it really is!

After my first novel, I had no idea how to make it better. I learned more about revising with book 2. By #4 I actually had some idea of what I was doing. It & book 5 were picked up by a publisher.

And yes, they too began with a crappy first draft. Happy writing!
(new follower)