Monday, June 25, 2012

Unofficial NaNo Pep Talk for High Count Writers

Have you written more than others you know? Have you pushed through almost a full draft of a new novel that is well over 50,000 words?

There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed.

That's the first thing I need to tell you because chances are a lot of snobs will tell you otherwise. Just because you happen to write faster than some of the others is nothing to be upset about -- neither for you nor for them. What you do does not concern them, but you see . . . a lot of them are not writing, so they have this time to make swipes at people who are, and they're not very logical about their attacks either. There are several factors which come into play when you are writing more than some of the others which might include an outline, more time, better focus, less time being snarky . . . and a love of writing.

The last is the part many people never take into account when they look at those who write more than what is often considered normal -- as though there could be such a thing anywhere in the world of writing. Everyone works to a personal beat and with as much energy, ambition and ability as the author can translate to moving little fingertips on keyboards. We find our comfort zone for writing, whether that's one paragraph or a dozen pages at a time.

So don't let the naysayers about 'quantity and quality' jab at you. I've been working with writers for more than a decade and I can tell you something these people don't want to hear: The speed at which you write the first draft has nothing to do with the final, published quality of the material. I've known people who have taken years on their first drafts and had stories no better written than something of the same length and genre another person took a month to write. In fact, I've found that the faster some people write novels (not all, there is no all in the world of writing), the more coherent the first draft is because the author has kept better contact with the storyline and characters.

Speed has nothing to do with quality of writing. Quality comes from what you know, what you are willing to learn and how well you edit afterwards. Write slower if it suits you, but don't be afraid to fly and don't let anyone else tell you that you shouldn't fly either.

You've done well. You should be proud to have your wonderful first draft, whether done or nearly done. Get the manuscript finished, set the story aside for a while before you start the work of editing. Don't let editing scare you, either. This is a wonderful, wondrous gift for writers who are allowed to rework and reword every bit of their art until they can get the stories they want.

Me? I'm about to start the last chapter of my novel. I have over 80,000 words on it, and I've really enjoyed writing the book. (Those of you who know me from November NaNo runs would expect me to have written more -- but I was very busy this month. I'll save the multiple first drafts for November!)

1 comment:

Catana/Sylvie Mac said...

You left out experience. Anyone who's used to writing regularly is going to work faster than someone who's doing it for the first time. And I think experience also makes the difference between pantsers who can turn out a decent first draft and those who bog down.

The trouble with the speed argument is that it really comes down to "I can't write that fast and do a decent job, so it's unreasonable that anyone else can."