Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Thief or a Vanishing Act: IWSG

I once wrote about where I find the time to write. I said I didn’t look through my pockets to find loose time. I said it had to be stolen, pilfered, and sacrificed to the god of words.

I’m clearly not making the right sacrifices lately. My word counts have been REALLY low this year. I finally drew a line in the sand and said “enough.” I went to a retreat and pounded out 11,000 words to finish a book I started in 2014, (a small miracle as far as I can tell), but since that retreat, I haven’t been able to just sit down and make the magic.

I worry that I’m broken.

I worry that the magic is gone.

I listen to podcasts and they talk about writing exercises and I despair at ever having enough time to write those exercises to try things on. How would I find the time?

And that’s when I realize I’ve caught myself in a trap. Doing a writing exercise is a literal act of improving the craft for the sake of improving my craft. If I can’t improve my craft prior to writing a book (or the second draft of said book) then how will I write a better book? Yes, all writing moves a writer in the direction of better writing, but sometimes, you need to spend a couple dozen pages of words figuring out a character. It’s worth the time to hone the craft before diving into the words, as the choice is really write it better the first time, or rewrite it, it seems more efficient to take the time out of my writing schedule to work on the elements of craft.

But my writing schedule has been insanely tight with edits and proofs, and marketing plans.

So, I’m insecure about the fact that I’ve been writing and publishing and I feel like there is SO MUCH to learn, and I’ve been blithely sending books off into the world without these elements. Which isn’t true, they were just there without me having to think about them because my betas stuck them in, or my editors pushed me to write those things in. But it’s time to level up.


What about you, dear reader? Do you feel like you have the time to work on craft as well as piling on the word count?

Don't forget to visit the Ninja Captain, Alex and this month's lovely co-hosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

11 comments:

  1. That very thing overwhelms me at times too. I try to work on short stories to level up my craft, but I don't always have the time. I've missed my local group meeting for two months now due to illness, and that's one place where I definitely learn a lot. Keep on pushing forward. Time for some level grinding!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I hadn't thought about that, this is the grind between levels! That actually makes more sense now.

      Delete
  2. It's like a catch-22, isn't it?
    I think I'm more in craft learning mode than writing mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think my frustration comes from the fact that I have some time when I can listen to pod casts, but it's really hard to do the writing prompts and exercises that come with them because I listen when I'm driving and stuff.

      Delete
  3. Being as I'm such a slow writer, I find I have more than enough time to read up on craft. I don't bother with writing exercises, however. I think working on my book is the best writing exercise there is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you there. My first few books were an education all on their own. Now that I'm a few more books in, I'm really looking to see if I can take some of the mystery out of my writing process. Keep grinding away at that novel!

      Delete
  4. I know what you mean. I really want to write more, but it's feeling like a slog even when I do have a moment to spare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, my whole hope is to streamline my process, but I know that's a fool's errand. So I just want to be better at it.

      Delete
  5. I think it's important not to overthink it. I don't really bother with writing exercises either. As long as you're making some time to write every day, it'll become more natural and flow better, because it's become a habit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You absolutely have a good point. For me, it comes from having encountered a book where someone did something really well that was something I had wanted to do with a book I recently finished and felt like I hadn't done a very good job of. But yeah, definitely need to keep from overthinking it.

      Delete
  6. I have a real love-hate relationship with writing exercises and writing advice in general. Most of the time if I try to do some sort of exercise, I can't think of anything to write. >_< I've come to feel that learning and thinking about the craft is helpful, but I don't end up with much of anything good unless I'm sitting down to actually work on something, not just do an exercise.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Let me know what's on your mind.