ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

IWSG post - If you're writing to publish, stop. And WEP returns!

Greetings from New Caledonia!

Having a great time exploring this wonderful island in the Pacific, but before I left to come over here, I scheduled my IWSG post. I was considering giving it a miss this month, but then I came across this paragraph on writing in Writing Unboxed when I was doing my nonchalant surf of the bloggers I follow. Dave King, the co-author of Self-Editing for Fiction had some good writing advice.


I don't know about you, but there's a lot of pressure for blogger/writers to get their novels out there. I'm taking longer than most as I feel I'm still learning my craft and yes, well, I'm a perfectionist. So I get pressure from blogger friends and family to get something out there into the market. But I don't intend to publish until I feel my books are ready. (Don't get me wrong, I'm a prolific writer, and if you've published a novel, you know it sometimes feels like it takes more hours in the day than God gives us.)

We have the Slow Food Movement. I belong to the Slow Writing Movement. I choose to be someone who takes her time playing with words, rather than live in a state of panic because the years are racing by and I don't have a published novel. Lalalalalalala! It's not like there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for writers. I know there is validation for the gazillion hours spent on the laptop and in your head. But to me, the real reward of writing is in the writing itself.

Dave King, editor, says:

So if you’re writing to publish, stop.  Instead, write to write.  Do it for the moments when your characters say or do something so unexpected that you wonder if you ever really knew them before.  Do it for the moments when you overhear something in the supermarket and think That was beautifully put and would make great dialogue.  Do it for the mornings when you wake up and know exactly how the atmosphere of one of your settings feels, when you have to hurry to get it down on paper before the feeling fades.  Do it for the late evenings when you finish a scene with tears in your eyes.

Exactly.

  • How about you? Do you feel pressure to get your novel out there, from yourself or from others?
PS: You may have heard a whisper that Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) is starting up again! It's true! Yolanda Renee has joined forces with me. Couldn't do it without her. Our first challenge begins on August 19. There was a post on Monday at the WEP site. Go there if you want more info.


So if you got this far, you deserve a picture. [INSERT IMAGE HERE] If there's no image, it means I'm having so much fun I forgot!!


At the Baie de Citron, Noumea.

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and the team for this month's IWSG. Click here for more posts.



43 comments:

  1. I love that: write to write. There's always pressure to write more, write faster, and to publish faster. But I hate rushing to the market so I take my time.

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    1. Great that you're getting your book out there!

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  2. I think once you start producing books, there is a little bit of pressure. Go too long in between releases and people forget about you. But if you're writing just to publish, then what you're writing won't have passion. And it will show.

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  3. What Alex said! The best time for me is when I am knee-deep in the story and enjoying the twists and turns with the character. When writing begins to feel like a chore, that's when I'll step away to try and get my joy back.

    Have fun!

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  4. As most will discover, there is no pot of gold. We need to just enjoy the writing.

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  5. Since releasing my debut, I do feel a lot of pressure to keep producing, but it's not taking the joy out of it. I write because I'd go crazy if I didn't, but I also write to be read, to share the stories I love. I have to write for passion, because I'm certainly not making any money from it!

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    1. You seem to have your process worked out. All the best!

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  6. LOL! Wonderful thoughts. I've been working on the final book in my trilogy, and while hearing the impatient voices of readers, I'm just as determined as you to be sure the words are gold. Still, they have to get out there sooner rather than later, so there is a degree of urgency. But it's not to be published. It's to share the story. That's the only way to write, right?

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  7. You're busy again I see! Love Slow Foods. Have to love Slow Writing. :-)

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  8. Wow, Denise. You are amazing to interrupt your vacation in such an awe-inspiring place to participate today. Love the picture of you & the beach.

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  9. It looks lovely where you are. I hope you're having a great vacay! I agree with you and know there's no real pot of gold at the end of the writing rainbow like 90% of authors believe. Even if they get pubbed by the Big 5, it won't turn out at all as they expected. I write to challenge myself - and I pub for the same reason. As much as I love knowing I created a good book, I also enjoy learning about marketing and ways to sell. And that is far harder and more challenging than writing, believe me.

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  10. So jealous. Get some fun sun for me. And as to the advice about writing, I wholeheartedly agree. Do it for the love of expression. :-)

    Here's my link if you'd like to drop by when you get back :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  11. Such a lovely post. I love your quote from Dave King. Sometimes it can be stressful trying to write for a purpose, but it's always good to take some time and remember why you began writing in the first place…

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  12. Beautiful! This rings so true for me. The more I think about "the next step" when writing, the more difficult it is for me to just write the darned story.

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  13. Hi Denise, the only person I know who works harder on vacation than I do! Great post, very inspirational, and too true - that pot of gold does not exist, but for a very lucky few! Writing is definitely the reward and I discover my joy with each flash fiction challenge! I am thrilled to be part of the WEP!

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  14. I think there's no harm in having some pressure on getting through the mechanics of publication. There's a shedload of grunt work to do, that can be dispiriting without that goal in mind of having a book out there in the wild. But I agree 110% with the need for the writing itself to be for yourself, not for publication. Do that, and the rest will follow.

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  15. Alex has a point. George R.R. Martin wrote that despite how long it takes you to write your next novel, if it is good, readers won't care -- if it is bad, they will not want to read another!

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  16. It's true. I love those moments when I've written a scene, or eve a post, and have tears in my eyes. It's something that is important to me. Keep writing and enjoying life!
    Play off the Page

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  17. I write because I'm cranky when I don't. That said, though, I really, really want to get the next novel out there. I've been working on it for 2 1/2 years and am about to send it to my editor (which will, of course, mean more rewriting!). I can write a first draft really fast, but getting as good as I can get it is another story entirely.

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    1. I don't feel so bad writing/editing for over 2 years now! Thanks!

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  18. Slow Writing Movement? *raises hand* Where do I sign up to join?

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  19. The pressure is always there. But I'm done when I'm done. I just put out a novel and the fans ask, 'when is the next one out?' Arrgh. It must be pirate day. :)

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  20. I get quite a bit of pressure from my husband to get published, yet he doesn't want to know about the process or give me time away to focus on writing in retreats or workshops. It gets a bit frustrating. I've taken my time and have an mg novel I am really proud of, but now I need the time to do the research for the right agent or publishing house for it.

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    1. Yep, I get pressure from hubs, but it's got to be when we're ready.

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  21. "Write to write" -- that's great advice. I'm lucky in that I don't have others pressuring me. I set goals for myself. Some I've met, others I haven't. But it's important to wait until you're ready to release your work into the world.

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  22. This is great advice, something that we all need to remember. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Hi, Denise,

    AH.... We travel the same path... writing for years with no published novels. BUT you have short stories and travelogues published and I have blurbs and covers published, so it's just a matter of time before the right MOMENT IN TIME...

    LOOKING GREAT on the beach. Our temps are still WAY BELOW normal. in the low 50's this morning. Wearing a light coat or sweater is beyond my scope of things for July 2nd when one should be sporting a tank top and shorts. UGGG....

    Enjoy the rest of your lovely time and writing to write is the only way to go for a true writer....

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    1. While I have my novel out with crit partners, I'm concentrating on my travelogues. Love the research! We'll get there Michael. :-)

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    2. I know we will! Enjoy your time in paradise! I wish I was there... Ahhhh....

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  24. I'm taking a long, long time myself, but like you, I want to get it right. This is the first time I've written something this long and want to publish it. So, it deserve all the care and attention I can give it until it's reads smoothly.

    I think the flash fiction has not only helped my writing, but helped relieve some of the pressure since something is going out.

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    1. Flash fiction helps for sure. Glad you are a member of the Slow Writing Movement too!

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  25. Gosh, it's been a long time since I wrote just to write. Once I published, I felt I had to publish more. And before then I was desperate to get published because it was my dream. The last time I wrote just to write I was a kid.

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  26. I definitely write to write. I have no choice in the matter, but I also accept there are writers out there who write only to be published. I understand their priorities are different than mine. Most of them are romance and/or mystery write-for-hires, and it’s their job. Their only passion is selling books, and while some of them do quite well, I’m glad I’m not among them.

    Been enjoying your vacations photos on Facebook. Pure magic, Denise! Hope you’re having a wonderful time.

    VR Barkowski

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  27. Denise, I feel zero pressure to write. I do so for my own benefit. That being said, I do need to make some $$$ to keep wifey and the kids happy. So yeah, there is some pressure from am man's POV to produce. I've been successful on a part time basis. Let's see what my next book can do.

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  28. Loved that quote totally! I am always being grabbed around the throat by the writing at the most inconvenient times :)

    Write to write, yes. Do it your own way and ignore all else.

    Hope to join in at WEP, travel schedules and my 'characters' permitting :)

    Best always,
    Nila

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    1. Excellent Nila. I know you'll participate if you can.

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  29. Pressure is by me! Yes, I know what you are saying Denise. Take your time and put out the best book you can. Hope you had a great weekend!

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  30. I'm a Slow Food member and love the concept. Going faster in any part of my life--and that includes writing--only causes two things: mistakes and missed moments I want to appreciate.

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    1. Life is for appreciating for we lucky ones Clem..

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  31. Hope you are having a lovely time in NC Denise! I will be in Melbourne later in the month for the Margie Lawson Deep Immersion class. Scary....

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    1. Kelly I would so love to go to Margie
      Lawson. You'll learn so much!

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