it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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With regard to getting words on paper, kessa said the following in a comment thread in her journal: the need to stop agonizing over the picky shit that really doesn't matter until the story is done.

And I realized I had something to say about it.

That's very, very true. And also not true at all. Which is nicely conundrumlike.

Which brings me to something Steve said at the SNAFFU/VSFA event on Saturday. (which was great fun, though we had to run home at about 4 pm because my knee was killing me and we were expecting a houseful of people.) Anyway, Steve commented at one point that as a writer, he had to tell himself lies. And the lies changed as his career did. From "I'm just writing this for myself" to whatever it is that he uses now. This made me think of buymeaclue's dictum that a writer must have suck and not-suck simultaneously to succeed.

In other words, you have to be able to see both your own brilliance--the things you are doing right--and believe in them, and trust them--and you have to always be thinking "I could do better. This isn't as good as it could be."

And for me, it's true. When I wrote my first novel, I kept telling myself it was just for fun. That was a lie, of course. Now I tell myself that I don't care what anybody else thinks. Of course I do, but when I'm writing I can't think about that.

Here's the thing. At one point, I very much had to force myself to write sucky first drafts, to bull through even when I didn't know what I was doing. These days, I don't do that so much any more. My first drafts take longer--but they're better.

But these days, I can write even when stuff isn't flowing. My joke is that inspiration is the thing that hits after I get the first 750 words on the page. If I can get through that, I can hit flow, and it takes me about an hour to write what it took me six hours to write before I got the 750 words down.

So I'm not writing as many words in a day, but they're better words. However, comma, it is important that I never let myself get too hung up on perfectionism--and while I worry a great deal about the right word and the right image and the voice when I'm drafting, these days, I don't worry so much about commas or word rep or so on, unless I happen to notice it going by.

Steve also made another comment I agree with--way back when, he told me "If you can finish one book, you can finish two, and the second one will most likely be better than the first." Which is great advice. Saturday, he had something else I liked, which was to say that when you're working on your first novel, the learning curve is so steep that every chapter will be better than the last one. So the temptation to go back and revise is crippling.

But if you go back and revise after every chapter, you'll never finish the book.

Finish the book.

That's all paraphrased, of course.

But enough of that. Look! Pictures!

These are courtesy of David Gordon:

Not very flattering, but at least I look like I'm having fun.

There. As long-promised, photos of redheaded!Bear, and The Follow Me Light in its natural habitat--around my neck, on something black.

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