Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Taking time to enjoy the writing experience

I've heard recommendations that writers should get their first draft as close to a final draft as possible. This has always intimidated me because my first drafts were far from good. True, I have not been writing as long as some of these authors who believe in this theory, but it still feels like a daunting task. Hopefully someday my writing skills will get to the point where I am more comfortable with my first drafts.

So, this weekend I took one scene from the chapter I am currently writing and slowed down a bit, taking time to get it right the first time. I know that I will need to do some rewriting on that scene in the future, but I wanted to see how it would stand up to my normal writing. I will say that it took longer to complete because I stopped and thought about what descriptions I needed to add (sights, sounds, tastes, mood, etc.), character turmoils to bring out, etc. I usually do not put these into a scene until later.

When I look back to the work I put into that detailed scene and the other scenes of that chapter, I realize why I normally write simply to get a scene competed: time. As an aspiring writer I want to get the book done. I do not take the time to enjoy the characters and the world while I write. Sure, there are times when I do slow down because I get a bit of inspiration, but more often I am more concerned with getting the book done. To be honest, this is a symptom of wanting "to have written" versus wanting "to write." I say I want to write, but I still fall prey to the "to have written" syndrome. My book suffers because of this.

I don't know if other aspiring writers do the same thing or not. I need to think of this as a marathon rather than a sprint. That will be extremely difficult for me. Sure, I want to get published and because of that desire I am rushing my work. What I may try to do on occasion is take a scene and purposely slow down. Then later try that with a whole chapter. With a bit of practice I may be able to do a whole book like that, maybe. In the long run I hope my writing may be better for it.

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