Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bend don't Break

In writing, being flexible is extremely important, and often overlooked I think.

Writing can't be rigid. It's organic and is constantly changing. And writers have to change with that. I know you may think that scene is perfect and absolutely needs to be there because you love it so, but you're going to have to give a little and see that maybe while the scene is fantastic, it might not fit in the overall story. Maybe it belongs somewhere else instead – whether that be another chapter or another book all together.

Because here's what happens if you don't allow yourself to be flexible: You break. You either don't allow yourself to better your writing and get things done, or you realize how hard writing is and quit. Neither of those things are good. Being able to bend will make you a better writer.

This can apply to a lot of different aspects of writing, not just my own example above. For one, deadlines. And that means it's confession time!

I'll admit it – I didn't meet the deadline I set for myself last week. I said I was going to write a chapter a day, and I didn't. But I did get three new chapters done, which is more than I've been able to produce in the three previous weeks.

And the most important part is: I'm okay with that. I recognize that my day job had to come first, and it was a pretty busy week. Then, when I would have spent a lot of time writing on my day off, instead I got the opportunity to see my parents and my grandparents – something that hasn't happened since Christmas. So, yeah, I'm okay with that.

I'm not going to beat myself up about not doing exactly what I said I was going to for my personal deadline. (Read: Work deadlines are a completely different beast that must be tamed. Do not try to get out of work things, people! That will only lead to firing.) As a writer, I understand things come up. Maybe one scene is taking a lot more time than I thought it would (true in my case) but I don't let that drag me down and allow myself to quit. I know that the time spent working that out now will probably be made up in a surprisingly easy scene later on. See? Flexible.

So what about you guys? Do you see yourself giving credit and allowing some bending when you work? Or are you such a task master that you always meet your self-imposed deadlines? I'd love to hear about it.


Erin said...

Writing three chapters is great! Maybe now you can adjust your deadline to be a chapter every other day or something similar. That way you'll be able to meet your goal, which feels awesome. =)

Give us another update next week and let us know how you're doing!

Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

Annerb said...

Erin, you're fast becoming one of my favorite people. Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement and advice. I think you make an excellent point, and I'm changing my daily goal accordingly. I will absolutely be giving a heads up next Tuesday!

Sarah Robertson said...

I only meet my hardcore deadlines that I know I can do if I push myself. There are other times where I make stupid, impossible deadlines that seem like failures the moment I make them. I think it's important that a deadline feel do-able, otherwise (at least in my case), I don't put as much effort into it. Hmm, I might write a blog post on this. :)

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