Saturday, December 15, 2012

Writing Patterns

I wonder sometimes whether I'm a bad writer.

Even though I've been writing my current WIP (Seven Thunders), I am not following the old adage of writing every day.  In fact, my current strategy works so far against that grain that I'm wondering the above thought.

As I've discussed before about the evolution of my writing book-length manuscripts, I started very much on the writing-every-day pattern, but especially with last year's lessons I've backed away from that to a considerable extent.  What that means is that I write less when I have the time to and more when I make the time.  What that means is that I'm continually fighting a panic.  I know there are no deadlines in writing other than editorial mandates and personal goals, and since I don't have the former I'm only working on the latter.  But I still sometimes wonder if I'm doing it wrong.  I have eight chapters left to write to complete the book by the end of the year.  I began in October, and in November unofficially participated in NaNoWriMo partly to keep myself on track because I did not write what I would've liked the first month.  This month I'm learning more and more that my strategy both works for and against my goals.  I'm reasonably certain I can do what I set out to do, but all the while fighting the urge to call myself a failure because it seems like so much of a struggle, when it really shouldn't.

Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that I do not make a living writing, and the stuff I do for a living is not personally fulfilling and barely pays the bills, and I've been blogging to an increasing extent over the past few years to help compensate, but all this blogging also seems at times to be a distraction from the creative writing that I know I want to do.  But what if it's not a distraction?  I've been struggling to figure out who I am as a writer ever since I graduated from college without any clear plan as to how to use my degree.  That's what a lot of English Majors do, I guess, because there is no English profession, only a series of compromises, work-for-hires and contracts that you have to continually work toward just to try and get, because there are millions of competitors (even if that number isn't accurate, it surely seems that way), and if you don't get on that right away, you end up with a lot of jobs the few skills you have aside from writing allow you to get.

I don't know what the majority of my blogging friends do to make the money that allows them to blog and be aspiring full-time writers.  I continually fight the feeling of jealousy for those who seem successful enough that they have legions of supporters and established indy writing careers, but how much of that is a digital illusion and only in my own head, I don't know.  Some of these guys are doing stuff during the day that I couldn't begin to imagine myself doing.  A lot of the people I went to school with do the same thing, and I have no idea how it was apparently so easy for that to happen, or so easy for me to fall so easily off that track.  I'm not one to complain too much about that, because there are hidden developments to everything and I like to find them, and what I like to remind myself is that I would not have written (or be writing) any of what I have if I hadn't done exactly what I did, even if I have no awesome publishing contracts (so far) to show for it.

So while I'm busy sweating the maneuvering of how to write those eight chapters (5,000 words each) in the remaining weeks of December while apparently procrastinating as long as possible, I have to keep reminding myself that this is exactly what my life is and that I shouldn't complain too much.


  1. I got into the habit of generally just writing on weekends. Even when I wrote my opus Where You Belong I took Fridays and Sundays off. Fridays just because I was tired from writing on Monday-Thursday after work and also to rest up for Saturdays where I'd write much of the day. Sundays I had to reserve time to do all the domestic crap (laundry, dishes, etc.) that had to get done at some point since I couldn't afford a maid.

    I always liken it to a pitcher in baseball. They don't go out and throw every game because their arm would fall off after a while. Writers also can't write every single day or they'll burn out.

  2. A lot of writers don't write every day. I think that comes down to personal preference.
    And while my books have done well, I've never wanted to be a full time author. Too much pressure. It would scare me to know it was my only source of income.

  3. I'm not a published author yet, but I find that the more I beat myself up, the less I get done. We all doubt ourselves. I know I look at people who are getting tons of writing done and just want to smack them sometimes. But we each do what we're able to. Good luck to you on getting those last chapters finished.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    1. Every time I feel pressured about it, I end up taking a step back and realizing that it's okay.

  4. Tony,

    I think you are being way to hard on yourself. I really like your writing.

    As for being jealous of "established" writers/ bloggers: don't. I used to feel the same way. But let me tell you something: I myself make ZERO money by blogging because my blog is (by my own choice) 100% about the *writing*. I am content-driven. (Not "content" as in happy, but most days I am happy too. "Content" as in material/ words.) I do not want ads on my blog purely for the aesthetic reason that I think it is distracting and looks messy. I guess I would rather make no money than be messy? I never pursued writing to be rich. That is what selling drugs is for (kidding!!!).

    As for being chained to your keyboard to pound out the words: I never "force" myself to write. I write with great frequency for the simple reason that the words are bursting out of the neural pathways in my brain and I need to put them somewhere. THE WORDS DICTATE WHEN I WRITE, NOT THE OTHER WAY 'ROUND. Just write when you have something to say.

    I am 44 years old. My degree is in English Lit. I have written my blog for 2 and half years (and I write almost daily). I have 2 (self-)published books. Until recently, I was working another job full-time to pay the bills (no longer working that job in part because I missed 6 weeks due to my mom's death in late October).

    Just do what you do. Write. Don't compare yourself to others.

    Good luck, and I will be back to read more soon.

    (Mother Of Vrothers)

    1. This whole year with the expanded look at the blogging community has forced me to examine this, and I'm finally starting to realize that it shouldn't bother me so much.

      Thanks Vrothers!

  5. Boy. You got me Tony. I have a full-time job and have to carve out a few hours a day to blog. I can't imagine writing full-time. Soldier on Bro.

    1. I only want to write full-time because it's the only thing i'm truly competent to do as a skill. Except it's really hard to find someone to pay me. I sometimes wish we still had royal patrons. Anyone who complains about having a position like that and being "forced" to write what the patron wants, they have no idea. There are plenty of people who would love to be in that position.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...