April 5, 2010

Just Writing it vs Writing it RIGHT...

Part of the problem I have with working on novels is I want to write it right the first time. I know I cannot although there may be writers who can. I'm a huge rewriter. It seems I can't give myself permission to just write it. I want to "write it right." Do you have that problem?

When I wrote HUNGRY FOR CHOCOLATE I came home after a few days at a writing retreat and I sat down and wrote every day for two months, not allowing myself any major rewrites. (WHY WAS I SO STRONG THEN?) I allowed myself to look over the pages at night and to make a few minor changes the next morning then I required myself to continue. In two months I had finished the rough draft. IT took many more drafts to get the novel to where it is today. And it hasn't sold. So. What am I missing?

Now, I'm so much smarter and have more years of writing under my belt and I still want to second guess every other word I write. Do I need intense hypnosis to make me lose the desire to rewrite. I want to rewrite before I even write. It's almost an obsession, I'm ashamed to say.

I do well with short stories and am successful with essays and short articles. But my heart longs to have a book on the shelf.

Yet, I have all these unfinished novels. I think I need to be chained to my desk and not allowed to leave until I write "the end" at the end of a novel.

I'm hoping this new story on which I'm working will keep me motivated to finish it, novel style.

I've been doing well but I allow interruptions that I shouldn't. The phone is my biggest enemy. I love to talk.

I'm off here now to make a sign to put on my desk. DO NOT DISTURB. Plus tomorrow I'm turning off the phone. Somehow I'm going to make it through this story to "the end."
Let me know what works for you! Thanks! AND blessings.

8 comments:

  1. Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It's National Novel Writing Month, and it's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The thing most people find challenging about it is turning off the "inner editor." I used to be a big rewriter too, but 2 Nanos not only taught me how to do it, but why it's so important when banging out that first draft.

    I just focus on the story I want to tell, not what parts have already been told, and I only allow myself to read the previous few paragraphs to get back in the mood.

    Good luck getting to the end! It's a wonderful feeling.

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  2. Oh that phone! As soon as people know I am at home, they think they can call and I want to chat. I acutally ignore it alot more now during my writing time. You have to value that time and claim it.
    Thanks for understanding about my job situation. It was the worst in all my years of working!

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  3. Ignore the phone! Hide from the internet. Whatever it takes.

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  5. I meant to say thanks everyone and I'll try the next novel writing contest.

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  6. I do have the same problem and I sometimes feel guilty writing and letting other things go. For me I think the hardest thing is finding all those words. I don't think I could ever write a 50,000 page novel.I started out writing picture books and when I had a children's story of over 9000 words I was amazed that I had actually written that many words and put them down on paper.Sorry I can't help with ideas on not editing as you write, I can't even turn off the editor in me when I read books written by someone else.

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  7. I haven't figured out the solution yet, either. For my current WIP I created a chapter by chapter outline and this has helped me to keep my focus as I write the novel. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I didn't have this outline I would have given up on the novel by now.

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  8. Thanks for the comments. I'm thinking I need to do what Alex said and ignore the phone and internet. They both call my name continually. I may try Alissa's idea of an outline for this one. I fly by the seat of my pants always and it works for small projects but not for those 300 page novels.

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