About two years ago, Maggie Stiefvater wrote her Dear John letter to NaNoWriMo because while the idea behind the program was great, it wasn’t aligning with the way she writes and the pressure to finish something in a timeline that didn’t allow her to write her way was stifling her creativity.
At the time I thought it was a little silly – everyone wants to just get the words underway and write and get a story because after all we all have to revise anyway why not have lots more to revise, right?
I’m starting to see her wisdom.
I’m writing my first book. I have had other stories that I have written and they are cool concepts but I didn’t feel the drive to finish them like I feel the drive to finish this one. And if you ask my CP’s, I picked a hell of a first book. It’s a hard flippin’ book to write and hopefully I’ll get it done well enough that someone besides the three of them will have read it.
In July, I just wanted to be done. I wanted to sit down and crank out the rest and have this beautiful thing to tweak, but life happened more than I wanted it to and the time to write was not what I’d hoped it would be. But not one to completely give up, I did get in several writing sessions, quickly discovering that I’m not a fast writer. I can type fast, when I know what needs to be said I can write fast, but I drafted this willy nilly and I don’t know what exactly needs to be said so it’s slow going.
And that’s okay because what I’m creating is fleshing out better than I thought I was capable of making. And I have learned that there are methods besides those that I’ve tried that should make writing the next time around better for me.
Yes, it takes me longer to draft than I would like, but and I have total progress envy over those who draft at lightning speed. And I would like to say that it is going to save me in the revision process, but I don’t know if that’s true yet. However, if I know it’s going to be 10,000 hours to be successful, I would really like to make those 10,000 hours as quality as I can.
And even though she’s writing YA and I’m writing Women’s Lit, what if my method means I will eventually be able to write like Maggie?
What realizations have you had about yourself as a writer?