My gods, it’s a blog post!

“I need to hurry up and finish this WIP so I can tear it apart and rewrite it…”

That was my foremost thought as I finished Brandon Sanderson‘s Mistborn this evening (it’s 11:30pm, can I still call that “evening”?). I don’t know if it’s due to reading, Brandon’s novel, or just being on holiday and thinking more, but there are many changes I want to make to my current WIP.

Big changes.

Well, not quite main plot-altering changes, but there are things I missed that I so desperately want to fix. I could have raised stakes here. I should have increased tension there…

This is why I have a very love-hate relationship with writing. I am a person addicted to progress. A perfectionist. I see a flaw and I seek to correct it immediately.

You can’t do that with writing. And it drives me mad.

I know many of you are thinking “um, yes you can. Just go back and edit what you’ve already written. The draft doesn’t need to be done to do that.” You’re right, and also wrong. How can I properly judge what truly needs to be fixed and how to fix it before I write the final words? And getting to those final words takes quite some time.

I think most people go through this with any large project, writing included. At some point, usually after a significant amount of work, you panic and think “Oh gods, I’ve bungled it all up! I need to start over and fix all this…” In my experience, if you do restart, you end up doing things nearly exactly as you did before. But if you finish it, you’re apt to see those “failures” aren’t failures at all, and that things actually work out quite well.

Completion is one of the best ways to vanquish insecurity.

That’s why I can’t go back and change things before I’ve finished. I need to see the completed product to decide what needs changing and what is perfectly fine as is. A couple outside opinions wouldn’t hurt, either.

Writing is a lot of work. It’s the kind of activity you can never perfect. You constantly learn new tricks and better methods, yet cannot put them into action immediately. Not exactly, anyways.

I will probably take a very NaNoWriMo approach to things and continue writing as if I had done things differently from the start. Maybe once I’m done I’ll appreciate the changes I made halfway through. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.

And gods do I hate that uncertainty.

 


Unrelated side-note: I made plans to change my body clock to be tired earlier at night and awake earlier in the morning. The plan was (which I’d read about in some article somewhere): go to bed 20 minutes earlier than you did the night before, and wake up 20 minutes earlier than you did the day before. Example: Go to bed at 11pm tonight and wake up at 7am tomorrow. Then go to bed at 10:40 and wake up at 6:40. Then 10:20 and 6:20.

Needless to say, as it is now 12:30am as I’m finishing this post, I failed horrifically.

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About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on December 28, 2011, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. In case I haven’t said it before, the Mistborn series is amazing. I tried to get The Hero of Ages at a bookstore today, although I would’ve bought the whole trilogy plus Alloy of Law if they’d had it, but they didn’t have it so I walked away with only John Hodgman’s That is All. Not a complete loss, I’d say.

    On a more relevant note, perfectionism’s a pain for me too. I find it easiest to stop myself from over-analyzing my work when I go full steam ahead as much as possible. But that always leads to me running out of steam, and then realizing every place I’ve screwed up, anyway. So it’s not a perfect system, yet.

    That said, I always love the feeling when something inspires me to make sweeping alterations and ideas to my outlines. That might’ve even happened a few times when I read the first two Mistborn books a while back. It’s invigorating, isn’t it? It’s probably why I have far more folders of outlines at various degrees of completion than actual writing, at least.

    • It’s tricky when you see a dozen different paths your story can take, but you’re not sure which is best. At the same time, it’s good to have options, so if you take one path and don’t care for it much, you can try something different. I suppose the main trick is to not get too far away from what you want the story to be. Make too many changes, and the heart of the thing is likely to be lost.

      I really can’t wait to read the rest of the Mistborn trilogy, but I have several other books I should read first. If only because I’ve not purchased Well of Ascension yet. Can’t wait for the next book in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, either. Though that one won’t be out for a while still.

  2. So much truth here. Twisted delight, indeed.

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