by Suzanne D. Williams
Write, they said.
Write your first draft, just jot down the words and don’t look back. Right words. Wrong words. Bad phrases. Poor grammar. Telling, instead of showing. Head hopping. Everything goes as long as the words land on the page.
Write, they said.
Don’t reread. Don’t correct yourself. Don’t overthink. But zip to the end and raise your word count as high as possible. 4,000 words a day. 8,000 words. Look at how far you’ve come in such a short period of time!
Write, they said.
Put out a book in a month. 50,000 words in 4 weeks’ time. You’ll go back and reread and reread again and fix all those mistakes. That’s the fun part, the editing.
Write! Write! Write!
Wait. Hold on. What if instead of forming sloppy writing habits, I learn to write well the first time? What if I get to the end of the scene and know where the next is going because I don’t have to worry about fixing what I messed up? Even greater, what if I slow down and enjoy the process?
Enjoy the trip on the way to where you going.
I get it. Some people need motivation and having a time limit on how much to put out helps them produce. But, maybe it’s just the editor in me, I can’t do that. I don’t like to go back and change things. I hate that I didn’t see what I should have done the first time, and I love getting to the end and knowing everything fell into place exactly as God intended.
God and me, writing. He gave me the words. I listened and put them down correctly.
Not that there is anything wrong with how you write. If you prefer to race to the end and then spend days editing, have at it, but I’ve learned how to write by taking my time to examine what I’m saying. It’s the overthinking, the questions – Could I change this point of view? Would the sentence read smoother if I substituted this word for that one? What if the character said this instead of that? How would that alter things?
The best compliment ever paid me was when my editor said she could read my books on her phone. ON HER PHONE. When I get the story back and it takes me a half hour to edit, I know I’ve done things well.
I’ve learned where to place commas, how to properly use action verbs, when to add in a beat during dialogue … and all the other multifarious things that a writer has to know just to write. I’ve studied my craft and become GOOD at it. Like a sports star, who knows the rules of the game. Like a lawyer, familiar with historical cases. Like a math professor, who has spent hours knowing how x equals y.
I mean, where would we be if airline pilots didn’t understand their instrumentation? If computer repair shops were staffed with auto mechanics? Do you honestly want to stand in line at the grocery store while someone adds your prices up by hand? We expect teachers, subway engineers, politicians (laugh) to know what they’re doing. We want to get on a boat and the captain understand how it runs.
But anyone can write anything as long as they get it finished, no matter how bad it is when he or she pens “the end”? I don’t think so.
They tell me to write, but instead of flinging words hither and yon, I will write well. And I will learn from it. I will develop my craft, become the BEST, and have readers clamoring for my books because, even if some shiny accolade isn’t hung on the cover, I know that I know what I’m doing.
But maybe, that’s just me.
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Believing Has No Limit
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Best-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 http://www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SDWAuthor.