Measuring Progress

02.19.10

Image by colemama via Flickr

This year is my Year of No Excuses.

Six months into it, I would have hoped to be a lot farther along than I am right now in terms of my writing goals. After all, I’m supposed to be revising/rewriting material that I’ve already written with a concept that I already know. This should be a lot easier than dashing through a rough draft of “What Happens Next.” Well, I could have only guessed at the “easier”, because I’ve never been in this stage before, one where I’m supposed to make rough drafts and rough ideas into a presentable, novel-length story.

So, honestly I didn’t realize how L O N G all this revising and rewriting would take, and how easily distracted I am now by bright, shiny ideas and remembering the rush I felt when I got to play with something new and unexplored.

And, to be really, really honest, I’ve had to overcome the belief that I didn’t have what it takes to write this story. And, when I say overcome the belief, I mean I had to do so many times. (Like, a lot. Daily. Maybe even this morning.) Even now, I have to drown out all the chatter about not being enough to write my WIP (or any other story, for that matter). The talent, the intelligence, the words, that indefinable It…whatever It is, I don’t have It enough to write. Of course, because I’m me, I don’t just get this as a one-time mental obstacle (which is hard enough to overcome on its own), but also as a recurring obstacle that likes to morph and come at me as different versions of “I Suck.” I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but I’m sure you get what I mean.

Of course, I realized that I focused on the wrong things entirely. First, I’ve been focusing on the time frame in which to finish my story, and kept getting discouraged that I wasn’t finishing quickly enough. Crazy, I know. Second, I lost sight of the idea that “All writing is practice.”

Laurell K. Hamilton wrote in a recent blog post, “Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly makes better.” She also went on to say that she desired to write well more than any other distraction. That even though she was years away from selling anything, she owed it to herself to finish a piece of writing . She owed it to herself to continue writing and finishing stories and sending them out for publication, because she knew that the only way to get better at writing is by doing it.

So, I’ve decided to narrow my focus on the story itself, and let go of all other expectations that I have of it. It will be finished when it’s finished. The one rule I have now is simply to write at a set time each day. No need to overcomplicate the process, which I seem to want to do (no surprise why I had to embrace the words “Simplify” and “Focus” last year, right?)

I owe it to myself to get these crappy words out and finished so that I can move on to the next batch of crappy words and the next batch. Pretty soon, the words will eventually become less crappy, and maybe even more polished. Because, I too want to write well enough to sell a story one day. And, the only way I can do that is to get out of my own way, and write and finish stories. The road to a pretty and polished story is paved with a ton of crappy versions of that story, so I might as well get started on my contributions.

 

So Tell Me: What’s Been Going On With You??