Lately, I’ve been taking an “it-doesn’t-matter” kind of attitude when it comes to writing. On the surface that sounds like a bad thing, but let me explain.
It used to be I fretted over how much writing I was accomplishing in the run of a day, a week, a month, a year. I looked around and saw many of my author friends churning out novels at an amazing rate. Why can’t I be more discipline, I wondered? Why can’t I just whiz through a first draft, revise and edit, wrap it all up neatly in a few short months? Truthfully, that’s kind of the way things went with Bitter, Sweet. Smooth as silk. I like to say it took three months to write, and that it practically wrote itself. I know that my first novel, so near and dear to my heart, was a novel just waiting to be put to paper. It was so much a part of me that all I had to do was write the story that was in front of me.
But not all stories are the same. Some take a lot of digging around to get to the bottom of. Digging equals time and lots of it. Time equals, well, time. Something we all complain we don’t have enough of these days.
Writers are often under enormous pressure to produce quality writing– and fast. Pressure, I might add, that is most often self-imposed. We can feel that invisible monkey on our back. We compare our accomplishments to that of our writing friends. And many times we are merciless. We are our own worst critics. But, of course, that can be said for most of us in general. We just aren’t nice enough to ourselves. We should be. We need to be. If we can’t treat ourselves with love and respect how can be possible treat others that way?
Here’s the deal. Awhile back it came to me that it doesn’t matter when that story is finished or even how many I eventually end up writing in my lifetime. I’ll do what feels comfortable for me. If a story comes at a fast rate, so be it. I’ll burn the midnight oil if I have to in order to get it down, but if it comes at a leisurely pace, a bit here and a bit there, that’s okay too. I’m not going to twist myself into knots trying to keep up with someone else. It just doesn’t make sense. Besides, we can only ask of ourselves what we are capable and willing to give. So that’s what I’m doing this summer. I’m working on my next novel, enjoying the process. When will I finally write “The End” ? I haven’t a clue. But what I do know is it will be done when it is done and not before. So,while an it-doesn’t-matter attitude might not be for everyone it certainly takes a lot of pressure off this writer. Does my writing matter to me? Absolutely. Not only that I intend to enjoy every moment of it.
* Next Wednesday, August 20th, I’ll be interviewing,( yes interviewing!) award winning author, Marsha Skrypuch on my blog! You’ll find out about her band-spanking new book, her writing ,and the circumstances surrounding some death threats and hate mail she received. Her story is an amazing one. I hope you’ll drop by and leave a question or comment for Marsha.