Monday, May 03, 2010

Forcing Ourselves To Grow

Yet another way in which this business is unlike any other business. Improvement is largely self-driven. It can be inspired by competitive jealousy or even a big contract - but taking the steps to actually make ourselves better at what we do is something WE have to do ourselves. Editors help, don't get me wrong, but often they help after the fact, because sadly my editor doesn't sit at my kitchen table with me when I'm sweating through chapter 7.

Critique partners, for me, are the biggest help, but once again, they're not drinking cold coffee with me in the middle of day while I pull out my hair - wish they were. But they don't.

So, it's up to us. It's up to us to think of better and bigger ideas, to write faster and more efficently, to create characters that force us to be on the top of our games. All, while actually finishing the book - which is hard enough.

I'm thinking of this because I just wrote a super in what seems like ten minutes. I'm not kidding. Ten minutes ago, I was at page 60 and this weekend I typed the end. I was telling my husband this, proud of myself, because you know ...it's hard. And he asked me - "is it good?"

The answer is probably not. But the downside of forcing myself to grow as a writer is that whatever little bit of perspective I had on my work - what little bit of confidence I had cobbled together from bits of scrap and pebbles is gone and I have to figure it out all over again. Can I write fast and still put together a clean rough draft? Who the hell knows? I just finished the thing ten minutes ago.

7 comments:

Kwana said...

Great post.

Karen W said...

I am sooooo jealous. Said as I sweat over the book due June 1st that I'm not even halfway through.

Eileen said...

Another very apt observation. No one is going to make us dig deeper, think harder or write faster except us. This is not a business to go into if you can't self-motivate.

Judging my own work? Im-freaking-possible. It's always trash as I write it, drivel when I edit it and then six months down the line, doesn't look so bad. I think it actually says more about me than the work.

Kathy Holmes said...

Oh so true and thanks for writing this. A difficult part is when you feel stuck and don't know how to grow. Then, one day, you take a huge leap forward and you've made progress - yay!

Wendy Marcus said...

It's probably a good thing your critique partners are not sitting with you in the middle of the day...because then you'd probably be drinking something other than cold coffee!

I bet your story is good. You're a wonderful writer. I read where Nicholas Sparks wrote one of his books in three weeks, start to finish, publication ready. It had been floating around in his head and when he finally took the time to get it down it just poured out of him.

Maureen McGowan said...

I was thinking about something similar the other day... I saw a post on the PRO loop (which I'm saying bye-bye to today) asking about how to keep your confidence after years of rejections.

I was going to reply that I thought continually pushing yourself to get better was one way to maintain your confidence. Maybe I will post that before they take me off that loop.

Sinead M said...

Wendy, it's a wonderful story, and that Molly managed to write it in three days is pretty remarkable.

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