Friday, July 13, 2012

Impatience

I've been part of a series on the Wastepaper Prose blog called "Author Insight." On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Author Insight appears, revealing the brief answers given by several writers to the question of the week. This week's question was about writerly flaws, and Barry Lyga's answer about impatience made me laugh with recognition: "... As soon as I sit down to write a book, I want it finished. As soon as it's finished, I want it published. As soon as it's published, I want everyone in the world to read it immediately ..."

Which reminds me of this post by Jeannine Atkins on how we can keep going, day after day after day, on big writing projects. (I quote: "Sometimes it’s about managing size. I can feel overwhelmed, and its cousin boredom, by the sheer scope of things, so it’s good to divide things into chunks ...") She called it boredom in the blog post, but in the comment thread on the LiveJournal version of the blog, we discussed the "impatience" aspect of it: "Sometimes it's the saying what I do that's boring. Yup, still writing that novel. Yup, still writing."

Then there's this from Nova Ren Suma at Distraction No. 99 on the (seemingly) neverending process of revision: "... I know how all the hard work eking out those first-draft pages can appear so futile when you look ahead and know you’ll only have to make changes later. And make changes after that. And make changes after that. Honestly, in my experience, there have always been multiple rounds of revision. I’m always writing toward what my book is meant to be ..."

The common thread in these blog posts is that eagerness we all have to finish our stories and move on, our frustration that it always takes longer than we think, our impatience when we have to go through a book yet again. Novel-writing is a marathon, and sometimes we look longingly at sprinters, thinking, Why can't it be like that?

But it takes work, and time, to polish something to the point where the story arc rises with the proper tension and the words flow smoothly. It would be nice if finished books poured from our fingertips, but that hasn't been my experience. So it's great to find joy in the process wherever possible.

6 comments:

  1. I love that quote by Barry Lyga! Impatience is my middle name, but thankfully I love revising. ^_^

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    1. Yes, I just wish there were more milestones in producing a novel--or that they were closer together!

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  2. I loved that quote from Nova's blog post. It's in the revisions that we bring the novel to the next level. I keep having to remind myself of that when I struggle with going on to the next phase after the first draft.

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    1. My first drafts are barely readable. It's really in revision where the story comes together.

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  3. A good reminder to keep the patience ever present-and realize that it is so worth it to take the time and effort the novel requires. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. And that we're not alone in wishing it were faster and easier!

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