Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time for Writer's Introspection

Time for some introspection. 

Writers, do you always finish what you start? Most of the time? Or instead, when something isn’t working do you give up rather than finding a way to solve whatever is in your way? Do you pitch it and come up with a new, bright, shiny idea?

The plain truth of the matter is writing isn’t as straight-forward as it might first appear. Some writing projects need a lot of work. When reading through you may well find areas that just don’t work and need to be tossed or totally rewritten. Some may need just a bit of smoothing. Other scripts or novels, a very few I’ll admit, are such that everything about them is easy and flows and just rolls out from the beginning. Love it when the writing flows with the vigor and simplicity of a stream bouncing downhill over rocks.  Got a bit poetic there, but writers will get what I mean. 

There’s a whole lot more to writing than slapping black type onto white background whether on computer or printed page.  There’s an investment the writer makes, a part of him or herself that goes into it. And that fact alone can make a writer a bit shy about his or her work, tempted to say, “that’s no good, that’s not working, I’ll just toss it and start again.”

And that leads us to the inability to finish mentioned above. The first question is do you, as a writer, frequently find you can’t or simply don’t want to finish a writing project? Do you have a hard time finishing ANY project? If this is something deep-seated within you, if you go through life finding it difficult to complete any undertaking, then it’s a much broader issue than just your writing. It might be time for some serious self-evaluation or even counseling.

However I’m going to assume that’s not the case and it’s just your writing that  gives you bumps you must negotiate. Or hives, or whatever.

That being the case, the best advice I can give is apply seat of pants to chair (or glue yourself to standing desk) and get on with it. Read it with a clear eye and reread it. Work with it. Take a break. Come back. Just finishing can be an exercise in itself.

Then let the writer soul within you recognize that there are some projects that really should just be allowed to drift off to sea on their own. Sad but true. It is a fact that applies to the occasional stinker of a project, one that should never have taken root anyway. Yep, there are times to just let it go.

Aside from that rare occasion, refer to paragraph above and follow simple instructions. Apply seat of pants to chair and rewrite or stand before your computer and do the same (standing, by the way, can be stimulating to the thought process!).

You might just surprise yourself – and the rest of the world at the same time.

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