Slow Down

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by Suzanne D. Williams

It is ironic that the topic bothering me right now is the antithesis of many writer’s goals in November, but frankly, coming up with 50,000 words in four short weeks is a little ridiculous without a great deal of planning.

Now, this isn’t to make fun of any writer’s efforts. The statistics on success and failure of what will spin out of NaNo would be interesting to know. Just the same, the thing bugging me comes up again in my mind, and this time, I’m speaking from personal experience.

The first few books I wrote I did like a speed demon, and one particular year, I released 25. I do not regret any of them, but I learned something powerful that I wish other authors would grasp hold of, especially newbies.

SLOW DOWN.

Any skill someone acquires, whether it’s a sport, a hobby, or a job process, requires time and study to learn. No one takes an amateur with little to no knowledge of the game, hands him a bat, and pushes him into the major leagues. Yet, common writing advice says to keep going, force out a first draft, and worry about editing later. Get to the end, first, and fix the mistakes then.

No, no, and no. First, do this enough and it becomes a bad habit. A “good” writer practices their craft with the intent to improve. They learn sentence structure, passive verbs verses active verbs, character development, plot structure, and so many other important things. A successful writer questions every word and pauses often to say, “I could do that better.”

You become respected for your writing because you took the TIME to write it in the first place. No one … NO ONE should skip over a mistake, glibly.

That’s not to say you won’t need to edit. You will. The story often requires adaptations to make it better. Or perhaps you repeated yourself. And, of course, there are misspellings. No one is perfect.

But anyone who writes must pride themselves the most on being knowledgeable about writing. It isn’t that you write 3,000 words in a day, but that those 3,000 words or 300 or 30 were done with thought and for a reason. They were done to the BEST of your ability.

I liken ignored mistakes to a snowball rolling downhill. The first one seems small, but as it goes further and faster, it increases in size until, at the bottom, you have a huge mess to untangle. There you sit trying to figure out where you got off track, when you could have avoided the confusion by correcting the problem earlier.

The best compliment an author can get is when their editor (and please, please, please pay an editor) finds little to correct. It isn’t an editor’s job to clean up your messes because you were too lazy to do it. That’s like a boat captain running aground because he didn’t want to turn the wheel. If he saw the sandbar, had a depth finder, it was his responsibility.

All authors should, with humility, admit they have more knowledge to acquire. I’ve published 125 books but have so far to go in some areas. I keep myself teachable and don’t let daily goals take over for quality of work. Where I find a fact or thought that I’ll need to look at again, I highlight it with the intent to return and make sure that that sentence says exactly what it should.

The truth is, good writing habits, done through repetition become less of a hazard against story flow. What used to make me stumble doesn’t any more. That said, writing should never be easy. Many times, out of frustration, I’ve asked my critique partner, “How many times can I rewrite this scene?”

Her answer is always the same. “Until it’s correct.”

She’s right. Until it is, I don’t move on. Nothing else should ever do.

Now available as a single download! 

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Singing Cowboy

Gideon Boone, country megastar, was an industry, not a man, and in the eyes of his brother and his mom, not the son, the sibling, they remembered. An interracial romance.

About The Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at twitter.com/SDWAuthor.

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1 Comment

  1. Amen, Sis. Nano taught me more about writing bad than anything else 🙁

    Reply

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