Slowing the Pace

good ol’ Looney Tunes…

Whoa!

I have to slow myself down… in a manner of speaking.

I’ve blogged about it before, I think on my old site before it had crashed. A friend had sent me a background for my desktop some time ago. A simple background, black with the words, “You keep finding flaws in your writing because you are becoming a better writer.” (For the record, I don’t know who the originator of it is… it certainly isn’t me.)

It’s been the background on my desktop ever since.

Honestly, until recently, I am unsure if I ever understood what that phrase truly meant.

Tuesday, as I stared at the draft for what I was calling part 3 for my novel Of Earth and Ice, a cold realization (pun intended) started to wash over me. I was doing it all wrong. I was looking at everything all wrong.

Well, not everything, but a large part of how I write is just still wrong.

First, I know that there is at least one thing that I’ve been starting to get right. (I emphasize ‘starting’ because I understand that it is still a thing I am learning – oh, there’s that whole concept! Learning!) That thing I am getting right is shifting my perception of writing. I am viewing it more as a process rather than just a hobby.

What I mean by that is that I have been turning my mind to enjoy the process of writing rather than it just being some task that I enjoy, or a means to an end, or a thing I have to do, or what-have-you.

However, there are still so many things, decisions that I am making, that point to the fact that I am still like a child with my writing.

Going back to Of Earth and Ice and what I was seeing.

Of Earth and Ice started as this web-serial I was going to release on a weekly basis. Then I realized at some point it was something I wanted to have as a novel. Then at another point, much like how I’ve experimented with Gravity in these shorter, novella length chapters in the saga, I chose to release the book in 5 parts. Not a bad idea… if I handled it differently up front.

Before I go much further, I am a pantser. (I’ve mentioned it before… but I feel it worth mentioning again.) As I am building my writing into more of a process based endeavor, my pantser-style of writing is showing itself as a liability. I am losing it as a trait, and I am losing my patience with it.

I’ve already released part 1 for the book. I was in a rush. I was just goddamn eager to get the story out. But it wasn’t flushed out. The basics of the world were set, but it was so hyper focused on one little piece of that world, I hadn’t bothered to work out the broader details. Why should I? Inspiration will guide me!

But now as I am 68,000 words into the story, I am seeing huge structural defects that need shoring up. And I know how to do them, but it means going back and revising, adding to, and altering some of what is in the 14000 words of part one… which I am finding I just wasn’t ready to release in the first place.

I keep finding flaws in my writing because I am becoming a better writer.

It was just bugging the shit out of me. Something was wrong with the story. I was making jumps, not steps. I was letting my impatience continue to dictate the movement of the story, and it was starting to conflict with my greater movement towards process.

It hit me: I have been rushing. I have been so eager about the results, so eager at outcome, that I have pushed for quicker resolution to things that need more time to build. As a result, so many of my stories are just lacking something. The story is there. The story is good (in my opinion). But the foundations are shaking, unstable. Easy to topple.

I keep finding flaws in my writing because I am becoming a better writer.

Say it like a fucking mantra. I am understanding it so much now compared to what I thought it meant.

I thought it meant that I see where I messed up with comma placement, or using passive voice in a place where active voice just is plain better… Nope.

It is about the story development. It is about plot. It’s about the process! I am finding flaws in my process because I am evolving as a writer!

Before, I was so focused on getting seen, so I thought I needed to just push shit out the door before it was truly ready. Now, I am seeing that I need to slow down. No matter what happens, I am going to be writing for the rest of my life. Why not take my time with it? Why wouldn’t I slow down to make sure I put out the best story I can when it is ready?

I am in it for the slow game. I just finally realize what that really means.

 

Note: I am planning to rerelease part 1 after I am done revising it, probably doubling it in size at least. I am not doing that any time soon. I am fixing my mistake and getting the entire story written before pushing out any more parts. At my current writing pace, that puts it sometime this summer.

Once I am done the first draft, I will revise and then release in parts as was originally intended, starting with the rerelease of part 1 and part 2 simultaneously, then at some predetermined rate (maybe 1 every 1 to 3 months?) after that.

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