Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Don't Look Back, Just Write
I am a nit-picker. Like, a major nit-picker. I could sit and fenangle one sentence for a week. Unfortunately, this doesn't get books written. Over-stressing about each word puts major breakers on your productivity, and honestly, probably doesn't make the words that much better anyway. In most cases, its your story that makes readers pick up your book, not brilliantly lyrical prose (unless your Norman Maclean or Wallace Stegner), and your story is what you have to get down in that occasionally torturous first draft. The beautiful prose can come later, when you get to the editing process.
I have had to train myself to remember this as I write. I'll finish a paragraph and think, mmmm, that could be better, I could use a better metaphor in this description, or whatever, but then I tell myself, yes, maybe you could, but do it later. Right now, finish this chapter.
Maybe you guys are better at just getting the words out there. Do you have any tricks for how to keep things flowing? Movie soundtracks have actually been a useful tool for me, because I'm not distracted by words, but the music helps me keep writing forward instead of constantly looking back. Like I said, I've had to train myself to keep writing, or else I could never reach my 1000 words a day.
I'm not saying that you have to be okay with sub-par writing. Thats what editing is for. I plan to go back and fix all the things that need fixing, after I finish the first draft. But right now, its the finishing of the first draft that is important.