The Non-compulsive Writer (aka-Why I’m Not Writing Faster)

I realized something today. In most aspects of my life, I am rather easily addicted, compulsive even. I feel like I have to finish things I start, be it a game or a movie. And I can do the same task again and again without tiring of it, trying each time to do it better than the last. There are even times when I’ll come back to something days or weeks later, and do it again, just because I think I could do it just one time better. So the question is, why do I have so many unfinished stories?

I used to feel the compulsion to write nearly all the time. Whether it was in school, on the bus ride home from school, literally anywhere. And the stuff that came out was (at the time) brilliant. Some of it is still pretty good (though it could definitely use a little trim work). Back then I really only had one novel that I was working on too. Now granted, it started out as worse than your typical fan fiction (this was before I’d discovered RPing, and so my writing was, shall we say, a little too concise) and was ripping off from several of my favorite books all mashed together. Thankfully I became a better writer (or at least started to say stuff was fan fiction). And that’s when I got my second book. When my characters stopped acting like the characters they were supposed to be, I knew it was time to give them a place of their own to play in (hence the need for the major rewrites in Raging Water). That gives me two books.

My third book came as my first serious attempt to complete something. To that point I’d only completed short stories. What in Blue Blazes?! was supposed to be a NaNoWriMo novel. I didn’t finish that year (and haven’t attempted to do NaNo since). Blue Blazes is of the genre I like to refer to as ‘sugar high fantasy’, because I was obviously high on something (sugar) when I wrote the thing. To finish it in a manner befitting the book, I will likely have to overdose on sugar again. I am approximately halfway through the book, and currently have no drive to finish it.

I also have some pretty solid ideas for a plethora of other books. Which begs the question, why am I not getting them done? All of my friends are churning out books as I watch.

Well, my first excuse is that I’m working on a bunch of short stories. Calling Down the Rain is almost ready to go out, and I’ve started work on Goodnight Earth. These two should (hopefully) help get me on the publisher’s map. Or at least show that I know how to write more than little piles of drivel. Is this really an excuse, though? Mornara is writing a short story at the same time she’s working on her novel, Inherent. Both the short story and the novel have large chances of being published. Havoc has been churning out 1000 words a day. So why can’t I?

Well, the first answer is, I could, and I have. I have to do the prewrite first, though. And THAT’S what takes forever. Prewriting is what I call getting all my ideas for a chapter down on paper. That’s everything from who does what to certain phrases and dialogue I want to include. A lot of the prewrites I do for whatever reason or another are done in the present tense and get changed when I actually write the story.

After I do the prewrite, I get to write the first draft, usually on paper. This is what I would consider to be the hardest part of the entire process. It doesn’t help that I can’t concentrate on one thing for a long period of time unless I’m tired (which is why I usually do the prewrites at night just before I go to bed). Writing in and of itself is tiring, though. I don’t feel like it’s welling up inside, ready to spill out most of the time (though I used to). Now I feel more like I’m pulling part of me out and smearing it on the paper until it forms the picture I want.

So there you have it, I think. My excuses for why I don’t write faster/haven’t been published more than once. In case you were wondering, this does mean I haven’t done a darn thing with Calling Down the Rain today, though I do have a partial excuse for that. Er..anyways.

Remember, write at your own pace. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Comments? Comments for the poor?

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8 comments

  1. I’m new to this site so I’m not so used to how to navigate around just yet. Have you posted any of your work out on your blog, would really like to see some of it πŸ™‚ I’ve been writing, just for fun and gotten a little beginning, which I have posted on my page. I am not nearly as experienced as you seem to be form this post you made but maby then you could give me some pointers? πŸ˜€ Give me a message If you have posted some of your writings on your page πŸ™‚

    1. Hello, and welcome to the site! I don’t actually have my writing up here because I’m to the point that I’d kind of like to get it published (and publishers generally don’t like it if you have your writing up in public places). There is a link in The Stories that shows you the one piece of micro-fiction that I’ve had published so far. If you don’t mind traveling off site, you can see some of my writing over at The Fifthwind Forum. It’s an awesome writer community (I’m a mod over there). And actually, that would be the best place I know of to get pointers too. πŸ™‚ It’s a great place to learn.

  2. It seems fitting that the tag “mornara” is right in there with cryingm rants and trauma.

    Anyways, take your time m’dear. Short stories are a perfectly worth-while endeavor. Cheering you on!

  3. Oh? Somebody else who needs to be tired before being able to concentrate on writing-related matters? And here I was wondering if I was alone in that regard. πŸ˜›

    Well, it could be worse…if I understand it correctly, you did manage to get at least one thing published before slowing down your pace. And it sounds like you’ve been writing for a while now. So maybe you’re just falling into a steady rhythm? I, on the other hand, only started writing a few years ago, so I still have random bouts of manic writing followed by dreary slow periods where inspiration is no where to be found…I imagine that after being at it for a little while longer, I’ll end up “slowing down” into a steadier pace as well.

    1. I’ve actually only started to write in a fairly steady routine, and even that can be in a little bit of question. But yes, I wrote very sporadically for years before finally getting serious. Actually, getting published is what made me get serious (kind of a reversal, that). I find that I can either write in large, segmented bursts or small, regimented bites. I used to do the former, and now (mostly) do the latter (with times of actual inspiration very much excluded).

      And just as an aside, a great place for writers is The Fifthwind Forum. πŸ˜‰

      1. Hmm…looks like an interesting site; I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

        And if you’re able to write even in spite of a lack of inspiration, then that’s actually a bit impressive. I’m usually at a complete loss of what to do when I’m lacking inspiration. πŸ˜›

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