Just read a list of 10 points on Sarah Ockler’s site titled:
How to Not Be a Thing: 10 Anti-Insanity Tips for Writers
Point 9 is the one I always try to remember… not always very successfully I might add.
9. Write. Period. Talking about writing, reading blogs about writing, thinking about writing, dreaming about writing… all of this may be important and intellectually stimulating, but it’s not actual writing. To be a person who writes, you have to be—wait for it—a person who writes.
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“The first draft of anything is shit.”
— Ernest Hemingway
It needs to be said that from an amateur’s point of view, that those few words are actually a very important discipline that needs to be learned, so you can actually get on with the job of writing and completing a story. The temptation to revise every line as you go along is there. Don’t do it. You have plenty of time for revision on your 2nd draft.
Even when remembering the rule, you will sometimes (as I still do) use revision as a form of procrastination when getting stuck somewhere in your story. When I reach a new paragraph, and don’t really know where, or how to start, I make a conscious decision to read through, and start to edit the parts that have already been written.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m still working on my story, and I feel like I’m making progress. When actually all I’m doing is buying some time until the magic happens, and a new idea appears, so I can get back to the actual story. The problem is, now I’m stuck doing revisions and concentrating on parts of the story that were already “roughed out” and down on paper. That isn’t moving forward…. its actually going back to where you have already been. You need to stick with where you are, and just let it come to you. Remember it doesn’t have to be “Hemingway” or “Dr Suess”, it just needs to let you progress forward. You can fix it later.
Knowing (and allowing) your first draft to be rubbish will let you get on with your story. If you write, and revise, as you go along you will never finish anything. It sounds simple enough, but trust me, its not an easy thing to do.
I still struggle every day.
Me – On Writing
I don’t know why I do it, ‘cause its harder than it looks.
Just write it down and get it done, that’s what they say in books.
Don’t edit what you’ve written yet, you have to let it flow.
I’ll try procrastination first, the one thing that I know.
Yet again, while working on a piece of short fiction, something completely different, and completely unnecessary pops into my head. Is it an attempt at using writing to procrastinate from writing.
However, is it procrastination, if it is still writing… maybe not the writing that was intended, but words did get written.
Maybe this whole post is just me procrastinating. Welcome to my world.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you like the new site
The Daydreemin’ Blog will (should) be updated regularly with info on writing, screenwriting, rhyme and using technology in storytelling, like the iPad.
An original story I wrote in rhyming verse. Carnival Of Chaos is a Children’s Picture Book story, and is out being submitted to publishers.