Monday, December 10, 2012

Drafting for me

Thanks so much to the people who commented on Friday's post. You really talked me down from the panic I'd started to experience.

It really reminded me of something. No matter what people say, we writers have to trust our guts first.

I really stepped on a bad landmine with this WiP. Instead of worrying about the story, I worried about what people would think. I can't imagine an agent liking this. Or a reader liking it. Or even my CPs liking it. So I don't like it.

Thing is, writing a draft shouldn't be about what other people like. It's about what the story needs. Once the draft is done, I can look at it again and try to figure out how to make the story more tolerable for the people I mentioned above.

For now though, I shouldn't be worrying about them at all.

I should be writing the story according to its own internal logic. I should be discovering what that logic is. I should get to know and love my characters. I should discover the plot. At this stage, nothing else matters.

So that's what I'll do now. Just write, for me. Not worrying about what anyone might think of it. Heck, if no one likes the story by the end? So what? It's not like I'm writing only to publish. I can learn a lot just from writing. Things I can use for stories people do like. I won't be letting outsiders intrude on this draft again.

Do you also sometimes start to doubt yourself based on what other people might think about what you've written? How do you deal with it?

46 comments:

  1. Well, Im sorry I missed the panic attack on Friday, but Im glad things are better!

    Anyways, I think subconscienly I think about the readers when Im writing, but not agents or Beta readers or even CPs. When I write, I already have most of the story in my mind (at least, the plot an dthe characters!) so I dont have to worry about anything except putting down on paper (or in the computer, really)

    I worry about the technical stuff after the first draft is complete.

    Good luck on your new WiP!!! :)

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    1. Usually I do too, but sometimes my doubts creep up on me.

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  2. If you write what others want, you're not going to have the passion for the story that you need. And without the passion, your story is going to end up being something no one wants to read.

    Good luck with your new project! :D

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  3. I think Stina's advice is perfect. You have to write for you first, even though it's hard because all that self doubt comes into play. Best of luck!!

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  4. I get the occasional thought like that, especially when I'm reading the publications I submit to and thinking, "Dear Lord, I'll never write anything as good as this. Why would they even want to read my stuff?" But that is the path to oblivion, my friend. :P

    I try to shut those little voices up as best I can, especially during the first draft. It's always a smart thing to know the markets and know what's selling, but not to the point that you throw a wrench in your own gears. Every story takes a different path to success.

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    1. I also shut those voices up most of the time. Even have a character devoted to it. But he mopes when I'm not writing his story.

      Sigh.

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  5. There you go! Just write it and worry about the other stuff later. You'll make yourself crazy otherwise.

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  6. Great idea. This is what all writers should do, during the first draft at least. Good luck!

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  7. The characters will get you to where you ultimately need to go. I usually have an end in mind and then let the characters run toward the finish line, letting thme go about their unexpected adventures along the way. I completely agree--write fro yourself now; worry about everyone else later.

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    1. That's the way I work too, usually, except this time, I'm completely in the dark, so nothing happening right now in my story makes sense.

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  8. I don't ask for opinions until I'm secure about the story and the characters. Still, I'm open to suggestions and crits when I do ask. I have such a dynamite crew that I pay close attention to what they say about my WIP.

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  9. So many things go through my mind as I'm writing - lots of distractions like the ones you mentioned and other things, too. I guess we just have to push all that aside and get that first draft down, then go back and revise, then run it past our crit partners. At least you're writing, so keep going, Misha!

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    1. You're right. It's all about pushing the distractions aside until we're done.

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  10. Frankly, I've always written solely to please myself. Of course, I want other people to like what I write, but if they don't, tough! I enjoy what I write tremendously, and I've always said that if I ever get to where writing isn't fun, I would quit. I've never written anything with the sole intent of publishing it.

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    1. Me neither, but it's always in the back of my mind.

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  11. I'm sure I'd like it. :D

    Sometimes you do have to follow your gut. Intuition is something we learn to supress along the way, then we need to learn to bring it back in.

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    1. Intuition is so important to art. Artists lose themselves without it.

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  12. I don't think we can help but worry what other people will think, but if we worry too much, the story will not be what we wanted it to be. Write what is in your heart first, then see what you have. It may just mean your options are different, but if the story if waiting to be be told and you want to tell it...

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    1. So true. I might end up being hugely surprised by who likes the story. :-D

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  13. I doubt what I write ALL THE TIME. Somehow, I keep plugging along...actually, it has everything to do with my crit partners--they won't let me quit, LOL!

    Good for you refocusing on your gut and not worrying about what others will think.

    Tweeting this!

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  14. It's so easy to doubt. You're not alone. Keep going.

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    1. Thanks! Always good to know others share my burdens. ;-)

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  15. Glad you're feeling a bit better about things. Hang in there!

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  16. Holy cow, do I ever! I always worry about what other people will think. But you can't think about it or you will never write!
    You have to keep asking yourself, 'Why am I writing?' Is it for you or for everyone else? I write for myself. Yes, my book is out now and I'm super excited, but I have an underlying anxiety that it will be hated. However, I tell myself I will absolutely never please everyone. People are going to not like my book. That's OKAY! I wrote it because I have a story to tell and I want to share it with other who will like it and connect with one of my characters. If just one person does, then I will have become a huge success!
    Keep on writing and don't let the toads get you down. :D

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    1. So true. I always write for myself first. I guess it's because I'm in query mode that I'm thinking agents and readers so prematurely.

      Good luck with your book! Let me know if you need a blog tour stop.

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  17. Sorry I missed that post, Misha. I think it's normal to occasionally feel a rush of panic about what others will think. I mean, when we hit Publish, we're putting ourselves out there. I've read where experienced actors feel nervous before a performance. Anyway, I'm happy all worked out. Yes, write the passion. However, I'll confess there were moments when I was writing "Rings of Trust" that I felt a bit left out of the popular writer's world. A book involving the KKK. Er, not exactly a topic on everyone's happy lips. So, I'd break off, go for walks to feel Nature and not think and return refreshed. More accurately, the passion kicked me in the butt to get back to the keyboard. Don't give up, girl!

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    1. I know what you mean. My recently finished NA draft took a decidedly darker turn to anything anyone else seems to be doing, so I'm keeping quiet about it for now.

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  18. I'm glad you made that decision, Misha!! Your first draft should be between you and the story, others shouldn't be involved or condemn your process, you're just getting the feel of what will be. Good luck!!

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    1. "Getting a feel of what will be." <-- exactly what drafting should be about.

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  19. I'm not much of a writer,but i do know people's opinion matters when it comes to writing.But take it easy on yourself.

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    1. It does matter. But not when the author still needs to discover the story in the first place.

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  20. Good decision. First drafts can change a lot during revisions, but let the first draft be as it may. I often doubt myself and end up procrastinating because of it. Best to just eat chocolate and carry on!

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    1. Hahaha yeah honestly I don't know why I was so worried. Anything can change while I finish and polish a WiP.

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  21. I think it's important first to write the story that you would want to read. All else can follow in due course.

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  22. At the risk of sounding arrogant (which I totally am, I just don't want to come off that way), at no stage during the writing process do I spare a thought for what other folks will think about it. Sure, I anxiously await a reader's feedback, because I value the more objective point of view and want to whip that WiP into shape, but I love the damned thing and that's what fundamentally matters, to me. I'll ditto Botanist's comment, above, as well. As long as I know I've done my very best with a project, I can be at peace and proud of the work I've done.
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. PS: I dig this (new?) look! :-)

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    2. Thanks. :-)

      It's the same with me. And the mistake I made was to bring other opinions in as well, when they don't matter just yet.

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  23. I get the in-laws telling me to write a proper book! *Groan*. The mother wants me to write and nice clean romance. The father wants me to write an intelligent thriller. I want to write urban fantasy with fangs and dark elements. "I don't like that sort os thing," they say. Write something normal people will read - you'll sell more."

    They lost the politeness filter at some point during their 70 years on the planet :)

    Truth is, we must write what feels right. Another staggeringly good reason why indie publishing is so marvellous. We don't have to feel restrained by the thoughts of an agent or a publisher. We can write it, put it out there and just see what happens.

    Best of luck Misha. X

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Oh wow that is so annoying! Thanks for the good wishes. :-)

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