Reviving this post for NaNo 2014 — For those of you joining through the Lovely NaNo Link-up, hosted by The Novelista!
Be sure to check out more NaNo-related posts this month through the NaNo category under “The Season”!
I’m not sure why I continue to be surprised at how much of what I’ve come to realize about life in general also applies to more specific parts of my life, for instance, my writing. In this case it’s the matter of moving at my own pace, not holding to other peoples schedules.
I got a glimpse of a microcosm of this while I was participating in some NaNoWriMo Word Sprints. A short sprint could see a word-count disparity that I don’t think is always simply explained by a difference in typing speeds.
124, 446, 419, 367, 369, 330…548, holy cow. Those are awesome word counts! (I got 449, for you all playing at home.)
— NaNoWordSprints (@NaNoWordSprints) April 28, 2014
Sure, there are distractions, there are those who did not type the full time, and those who are typing speed-demons. But it also has to do with the vastly different ways that people approach their writing. For some it is a matter of dumping the ideas on the page, writing absolutely horrible writing if that’s what it takes, to just get it down, and then sorting it out and editing it later. For others every single word is meticulously planned from the first appearance on the page, with a lot of editing happening before the words can be written. And yet others fall somewhere in between.
Just the same, some can write a novel in a matter of months, from first idea to finished project, while others will take years for the process. Some want to make sure that everything is plotted out, others are happy to just see where the characters and the story may lead.
And it can cause hesitation when you’re faced with someone who takes a different approach than you. At least, it does for me. I find myself wondering if perhaps I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I would be [more successful] [a better writer] [more productive] if I wrote differently.
The truth, though, is that there is no right or wrong way to write. Sure, there are suggestions, “rules” for writing. And for every rule there’s an excellent example of a time to break it. Every writer has their own method, their own way to reach their goals… and their own understanding of those goals.
Most important of all, there is no right or wrong way to write — there’s only what works for you. I was taught to write every day, but I know a writer (a bestseller at that!) who only writes on weekends.
– Tamora Pierce
What are some of the “writer-expectations” that you have heard and embraced, or rejected? Where are places that you’ve found yourself setting your own pace?
This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It is a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.