Monday, August 29, 2005

The Power of Stew!

Before I begin today's post, I thought I'd give y'all a funny addendum to "It's Okay To Poo With The Lights On". So, this morning, out of sheer laziness, I went to do my morning abolutions and didn't flip the switch. My son--ever interested in things Mom might be doing without his consent--comes running in and gasps before running back out. Now, at this I just roll my eyes because, well, I'm not about to ask him first and if he's horrified, oh well.... At least, that's what I was thinking before the boy comes running back in, giggling with glee because he's brought me a present: his flashlight. It was already on, too, because apparently, seven year olds can be thoughtful. LOL! Is that a sign, or what?

So, anyway, since I started today's topic by mentioning being on the pot, let's talk about stew.

Or rather, the art of stewing.

As if writing for publication didn't take enough time out of your life. Months working on a book. Months waiting on query response. More months waiting on partials or fulls. But believe it or not, I find that despite these sometimes desert wide waiting periods, writers are pretty impatient folks. Some of us write more than one book at a time. We submit to various publishers, overlapping our submission months so that we always have something in somewhere. We revise for other submissions in our spare time. And, of course, we expect each other to write at lightening speed.

Personally, that bugs me to no end.

I'm a fast writer, but I take time off between books. I fear writing the same character or plot over and over again by not properly flushing one book out of my head before beginning another. And then there's those odd writing quirks of mine: can't write a character until I know their name, can't start the most vividly imagined book without the correct first line. So I take time to think about it. Even to ignore it so that I can focus on it clearer when I come back. This is my process and just between us, I kinda like it.

But there is always that pressure--real or imagined--from other writers. Write faster. Work quicker.

My question is if this pressure to write faster, from project to project, is what really slows us down? Without taking that time to really think a project through, don't we in effect require more rewriting and revision at the end of the story because we didn't know what we were doing from the beginning? Some call it pre-writing. Some call it plotting, but I call it stewing. Allowing a project to germinate. It doesn't mean that a person MUST stew, but don't beat yourself up if you need to. It might mean the difference between keeping up with CPs or other writers at your same level...or having less frustration at the end of your project, making you a happier writer. And that's good for everyone, isn't it?


Kathy Holmes said...

Actually I agree with you - but I have found myself succumbing to that pressure from the writing community to write fast, faster, fastest. I remember reading that Danielle Steele says she starts a new book every January. :)

Shesawriter said...

I can't start anything unless I know where I'm going, so I ruminate a lot. As far as writing faster ... well, all that does is freeze me up. The more I think about what I'm NOT writing, the more I don't write.


Julie said...

I count stewing as writing. But I am certainly guilty of pushing myself to write faster, faster, FASTER!!