Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG: A Geriatric Snail & The Stick

a really good question of its member this month:

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

Umm ... I often don't or won't.

And then the guilt sets in.

I'm one of those people brought up in a house where A's in school were expected. A B meant there was something wrong, that I wasn't trying hard enough. 

Almost 50 years later, and the story's still the same. If I don't produce at least one novel a year (replete with enthusiastic fanfare, rave reviews, and high sales), I must be slacking.  Others do it.  Heck, one of my CPs is putting out 4+ novels and novellas a year.  But I only pubbed one book in 2013 and now one in 2016. One book every 3 years? What the heck is wrong with me?!

I've grown very adept at hitting myself with the You're-Not-Good-Enough stick because I:

1) Write too slowly. 
2) Don't have a zillion awesome novel ideas waiting in the wings to tackle next.
3) Have several times written 30k of a book before trunking it because it's "Not good enough" and starting on something new.
4) Can have a "feeling" there's something wrong with the plot/characterizations in an ms and stop writing for months while I try to figure out the problem.  (I don't believe in "Just write it now and fix it later.")
5)  I just plain lose enthusiasm and eat junk food and watch TV instead of writing.

Has beating myself with the You're-Not-Good-Enough stick produced results?  

No.  I don't write any faster.  In fact, it sometimes it leads to depression and then the writing stops altogether.

This year I finally accepted it.  Yes, I write at the pace of a geriatric snail.  Yes, I sometimes lose the "feeling" and just stop.  Yes, I'm prone to confusion and second-guessing myself, thereby wasting more time.

But I have good points too... My plots are tight and exciting. I write original ideas. My characters are truly unique. So when I do finally get something written, I know I've done my best and I'm really proud of it!


I am what I am.

I refuse to beat myself up anymore.  In fact, I'm fully owning both my good and bad points, dressing them up in a tutu, and parading them around the town square!!



This is me, like it or not.
Books get written when they get written
and not before.
I will not compare myself with others--
I'm proud I'm the weirdo in the pink tutu.


If you beat yourself with the stick or worry too much, 
I hope you'll stop. 
Instead, be proud of the truly unique writer you are!



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This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

46 comments:

dolorah said...

I know some authors that produce a book (sometimes two) a month, and short stories, and blogging, and family and and and and and and and. Ya know, I'm not reading that they are millionaires either :) I'd be happy with a (published) book every three years! So, in my writer envy, you're the one with the stats I'm jealous of.

Ach, we do what we can. Like the drivers that weave in and out of traffic, only to arrive at the same place your slow pace did about 45 seconds before you. Yep, all that risk was worth it, yeah? Wear that tutu proudly, lol. I'll stand back and take pics to post on FB.

Keep the steady pace and you'll still get there.

((HUGS))

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I had a similar realization when I started ghostwriting drafts for customers and did theirs a lot faster than mine. Something about writing for others got my juices flowing in a more structured way than with my own work. I still don't do outlines and do more rereading than notes but I get the job done for customers. My own work...be glad for your snail pace Lexa. Mine is more amputated legs zombie speed. But I embrace it and my surprisingly great writing talent as a freelance writer. I'll just work on my manuscripts in between until I'm done and ready to self publish and/or search for an agent.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Us snails have to stick together!
I haven't written anything all year. I have two anthologies pending, but there might not be a release this year. No idea when or if I'll have another novel. But you're right - it's nothing to stress over.

JeffO said...

I do look on the speedsters with a bit of envy, but I'm just not that kind of person who cranks the material out. About 5 years, 3 completed manuscripts. I'd definitely love to be faster, but while I believe you CAN brute-force story problems, I can't brute-force speed.

And cheers for acceptance!

The Cynical Sailor said...

I'm definitely a snail :-( I can definitely relate to your post! I'm constantly stopping and starting in large part because I think what I've produced so far is complete and utter rubbish. And then I lose enthusiasm and binge watch TV. When I read how quickly other people churn out stuff, it can get me a bit down. Which leads to more TV binge watching. I should really put that stick down and dig through the cupboards and look for my own pink tutu. Thanks for sharing! Cheers - Ellen

Cathrina Constantine said...

It amazes me when writer's pump out books so fast. If I get out one a year I'm ecstatic. Because of re-releases, it looks like I wrote four in one year, that's not true. Those took years.

You're doing great, Lexa. And thanks for the morning giggle!!! Be proud with your tutu on!!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm a very slow writer too. You're not alone. And I am who I am too. Love that!

Sue Bursztynski said...

You do what you can. You're doing fine. My last book was published five years ago! But I've kept up with short stories and am now and then getting back to the novel and if nothing else, I blog. I know it doesn't pay, but it keeps me writing.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I agree. Life is too short to beat yourself up. I try to focus on one thing at a time. And if I'm in the middle of a rough draft, I let myself think it sucks (b/c it does) and I'm okay with that. Just don't quit:) Thanks for sharing!!

Shah Wharton said...

Yes, but you have published quality, and shorts, and are republishing the first novel. You're always doing something. I, on the other hand, am way behind! I hit myself with the same stick and yes, depression totally stumps creativity.

I'm loving the Thundeclap idea. I've never really done the whole 'professional or creative book launch' thing. Then I moan when I sell hardly anything? I've supported it a few times now, as it's everywhere. :)

Congrats on the new novel!


shahwharton.com

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

I'm another one of those slow writers. It took me years to write my first two books. I'm so glad you've come to terms with who you are as a writer. Wielding that big stick only does damage and never does any good. Focus on the positive and don't second guess yourself. Your CPs will tell you if your story isn't working (and I doubt they say that very often). Have faith in yourself and your abilities and be willing to cut yourself some slack. Life's too short to beat yourself up over anything. Wear that tutu with pride. :)
IWSG Co-host at http://lorilmaclaughlin.com

Bish Denham said...

Good for you, Lexa! I can so relate. I've been a sporadic writer my whole life. I go through times where I'm very prolific (hence I have stuff waiting in the wings to be worked on/revised etc.) and then have gone long periods (even years) when I didn't write anything, NOTHING. I used to feel guilty about it, like somehow I wasn't a "real" writer because I didn't have butt in chair every single day and didn't write X number of words every single day. But I let go of the guilt a long time ago. No one writes the same way. The object is to enjoy the process, fast or slow.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Glad to hear it, Lexa. You should always come first, and that means a big self-hug to start every day. I used to beat myself up, too. Learning self-love has taken a while, but I'm in full speed now. Hallelujah! Feels good. The words will come now.

Crystal Collier said...

Way to go! I love how many people are accepting their own pace today, and seeing the variety of time frames we all function under. No two are alike. We all move differently. Here's to us and moving at our own pace!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I used to write a lot faster, but that's back when it was just me. Now I have too many other responsibilities and just have to accept that I can't crank out stories anymore.

Chemist Ken said...

Hey, I'm beginning to think I'd be ecstatic if I could average a book every three years. Talk about lowering the bar! You can't compare yourself with other writers. They may have a lot more time to write then you do. Just write at your own pace.

Michael Di Gesu said...

WELL SAID, Lexa!

You can't beat yourself because you can't pump out a new book or several every year. Writing is ART, and it can't be rushed. Each artist is unique and creates at THEIR pace when the muse hits them.

I haven't written anything new in two years. Do I beat myself up. Not really. I just focus on what needs to be done in my life and when my muse calls me.... I'll ANSWER. No use worrying about it. LIFE beats us up enough, without doing it to ourselves...

Laura Clipson said...

Excellent post, and you're so right. The bottom line is; everyone is different. Some people can write multiple stories in a year, and some can't. I plant myself firmly in the latter category. Everybody is different, and that's a good thing. We all have positives and negatives; the world would be boring otherwise!

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm a morning person and I usually do most of my writing before 11:00. By afternoon my creativity is on the back burner.

Stephen Hayes said...

I write early7 in the morning, my favorite time of day. By late afternoon or evening my creativity is gone.

Carol Kilgore said...

OMG. This is the second post of the day I've read that I could've written about myself. The only difference is I do push ahead when I know something needs attention. I may stop a day or two, but whenever I do go back to write, the answer comes. I don't know how or why, but I've learned to trust that it does.

emaginette said...

You are not alone. 'nuff said. ;-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Linda Kay said...

You go, girl!

Kate Larkindale said...

You have to work the way it works for you. And if that means stopping until you figure out a problem, or working at a slower pace, then that's how you have to work. I tend to draft fast and revise slow, and that's what works for me, but I know that's not for everyone...

cleemckenzie said...

Finally you broke out your tutu and are having fun! I'm digging through my truck to see if I still have one of those, so I can join you.

Rachel Pattinson said...

LOVE this post! I used to feel exactly the same as you, but this year, I've finally decided to stop beating myself up too. We are all unique, and that's what makes our writing so great.

I'm going to break that stick in half so neither of us can use it again :)

Rachel x
September IWSG co-host

mshatch said...

Excellent post! And I can so relate. I haven't published anything since 2014. Also a slow writer. I'm lucky if I complete a book a year and even then it's probably going need another round or two of edits. I've also gotten stalled trying to figure out where I went wrong and how to fix it. I think I'm going to embrace your philosophy and rock the tutu :)

messymimi said...

Only A's were acceptable to my parents, too. The best reason to be you is that no one else can!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Lexa
Burn the stick! My health has been my biggest problem. Now, in a one bedroom apartment it's people. Too many people. My desk is in the living room. But I manage to get some writing done. So the next time your stick threatens you make a fire.
Nancy

Lynda R Young said...

lol, I can relate to your #5 point. But you are right. There's no point beating ourselves up over it. Every writer has a different way and pace of writing.
I'm more than happy to spread the news about your book release. So exciting!! And I love that cover!!!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This post is priceless, Lexa. You've got it right. Be you. You're special. You're talented. And you are fun. What a great combination. I did the Thunderclap thing. Good luck.

Kim Lajevardi said...

I love tutu-dancing you! Damn straight you've got your good points. Snail or not, you are a great writer. And I can say that because I've read you're published and unpublished works. Glad to hear you're embracing it.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Life is better when you dance in a tutu. Be proud for what you have accomplished and don't waste time comparing yourself to others.

Denise Covey said...

Hwy Lexa, I refuse to ever feel guilty if I don't write one day. I try to write for several hours, but my life is pretty exciting. I can't shut myself away from other good stuff. We do what we do when we can do it. I'm a slow writer too, mainly because I don't plan far enough ahead, but heck, I still get the job done,,,eventually. :-)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Did this ever speak to me. I can so relate, Lexa. Congratulations on accepting yourself and your writing style for what it is--that's huge!

Olivia Rose said...

This post resounded so much with me. But, yeah, steady pace may yet produce better result for me.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Lexa,

You don't have to write faster or compare yourself to anyone. But deep within you already know that. The problem is the guilt. We feel guilty when we are not living up to other people's expectations or when we are not like the Jones's next door. So, deal with the guilt and that can only be dealt with when you finally accept that you have a purpose, and your purpose is individually designed just for you. Nobody else can do what you can do. If that means putting out a book every three years, then hurrah, hurrah, because that is your purpose and you feel comfortable with it.

Don't let the spirit of comparing block your way to enjoying who you are as a writer.
All the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Good. It's great that you've put that stick away. You are so right, it's doesn't help one bit.

This make me laugh out loud "I write at the pace of a geriatric snail". I'm right/write alongside ya there. ;)

Annie Neugebauer said...

Good for you, Lexa!! Accepting ourselves is so important to a healthy mindset, which, at the end of the day, affects everything else. I'm so glad you're embracing your own quirks and strengths and weaknesses. <3

Julie Flanders said...

LOL you go in that tutu, girl! Your gifs are always the best.

I've hit myself with that stick so many times I'm surprised my head isn't bashed in. Good for you for refusing to do it anymore.

Rhonda Albom said...

Well done Lexa!
Your writing is great, and the time you put in to it shows. Wear that tutu with pride.

Shannon Lawrence said...

We each have our own writing style, and that's fine. I get overwhelmed by seeing how much output some people have, and then I beat myself up, too, but I know rationally that they just write differently than I do. We don't all have to be marathon writers!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

#4 had me stopped this week. There was a plot problem, and I didn't know how to proceed. I decided to add an unexpected event, started writing again yesterday, realized there was a problem with my new idea, and stopped again. So, yeah.

There is no "write it now, fix it later." Make a mistake like that in the plot and the whole story goes off course. So, I'm with you, Lexa!

Tamara Narayan said...

Love this post and the pink tutu. I am a snail in a straightjacket when it comes to writing. I guess the straightjacket is my insecurities.

DMS said...

What a great post! I can relate because I also write at a snail's pace. Sometimes I get worried and stressed out about the fact that I am not writing faster. But- I write how I write, but I can't write any faster. Let's enjoy our snail pace together. :)
~Jess

Morgan said...

I'm slooooow too. And I'm still trying to find the magic right now. It's been a while. Trying to get it back. <3

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