Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Insecure Writer and Doing the Math



Today is April's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.



Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because I've done the math, and it ain't looking good for me as a writer.

You've all heard me complain about being a slow writer before, so I won't dwell on it overmuch.  It's who I am and their's no point in whining about it.  As long as I'm having fun, that's all that matters.

Even so, I was determined to push my writing to the max this year.  No more arriving at crit group meetings with nothing to submit.  No week-long hiatuses with nothing to show for it but a few revised paragraphs.   Just keep writing, I told myself, and I'll eventually reach "The End."  And for the most part I've been pleased with the results.  My story is taking shape, I've managed to bring something to both of my crit groups every month (well, almost), and the number of completed pages is growing.

But then I did the math.

To give all the writers in my groups a chance to be read, both of my crit groups generally limit submissions to  8-10 pages.  One of the groups gets the first shot at critting my submissions; the second group sees them later, after I've made revisions based on the first group's comments.  What this means, however, is that I'm progressing toward "The End" at the tepid pace of 10 pages a month, which means it will take me 25 months to complete a 250 page story.  Arg!!  My progress no longer seems quite so satisfying.

But it's still progress, and for that I'm thankful.

Are you satisfied with your writing pace?

ChemistKen



24 comments:

  1. At least your book will be in great shape by the end of the process! Sounds as if they've got good suggestions.

    Usually I *am* happy with my pace. But I'm 2 weeks behind this year on a book that should have been coming out this month. Sometimes these setbacks happen, but it's good to handle each day like a fresh slate.

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    1. Their suggestions are definitely making the book better, it just scares me how long it's taking.

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  2. You know, I think you're in the best stage of the writing game. It's true. You get to write purely for the love of it, and while you agonize over the one-day of publication, don't. Seriously. Love your stage. It's the best.

    Crystal Collier

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    1. I do worry about the time when writing becomes more of a chore than a fun way to spend a few hours. Right now though, it's all good... well except when I agonize over how much longer this book will take.

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  3. You're moving along at what's right for you, even though it can be agonizing at times. I always feel like I'm not writing fast enough, but I know when I'm in the groove, I write pretty darn fast!

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  4. Hi Ken
    I completely understand. I was in an in person critique group for over twenty years. In that time I only read from one story. That was how I learned everything a writer must know to produce and excellent book. Now, I have an online group. We post two chapters at a time and before we reach the end that way, we post the entire ms. Works out much better.

    I wish you all the best.
    Nancy

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  5. It's still progress! Don't focus on the pages or how many. Just keep The End in sight.

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  6. If you want fame and fortune, I'd strongly urge you to seek employment in the government with Hilary or on Wall Street with Hilary. Set aside that pen. :-)

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  7. Right now, I'm at a full stop. So you are doing much better than I am. See it's not all bad. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  8. Not lately, no. I haven't written much adjusting to some big life changes. The limit of pages in crit is why I hire someone. I let my crit group help me at the start then reserve the rest for my editor.

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  9. You're writing and enjoying yourself, that is what is important. And who knows, you may get on a role and double or triple the pages you write some months. Keep going!!

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  10. I remember doing that math. There's no way to rely on critique groups for detailed editing. I take their suggestions as overarching and try to apply to to the span of the story. That kinda works. Kinda.

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  11. Everyone who has CP groups has this problem. You have to balance the quality of feedback you get with the desire to be read in a timely manner. As long as it's good feedback and you're learning something, don't worry about the time. If you start getting really ahead of the group, then look for betas, or make side deals with your CPs, and privately send them large chunks in doc files and they can crit using track changes. Good luck! :)

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  12. I remember doing that math and later drowning in self-pity and insecurity. I managed to get myself out of this pity party mode and decided to write the first draft super fast, so that I atleast have the story and the words out.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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  13. See, and I write in fits and starts. Either it's flowing or it's frozen; I have no in between. So sometimes I'm very pleased with my progress, but just as often I'm not at all.

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  14. No. I'm not satisfied at all. I want to write first drafts faster.

    My critique group is small. We allow 7500 words per month. Even at that pace, I know that my book will be long done and (hopefully) in the hands of my agent before my critique group sees all of it. Still, it's good to hear the feedback because heaven knows, if the book sells -- or doesn't -- there's still lots more revising to be done.

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  15. The progress is right for you and that's what matters. I agree with Crystal, enjoy the stage that you're at because it's the best. Just keep enjoying putting your story together and the rest will come.

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  16. Write in your own pace. If ten pages a month is what you can do then stick to it. Don't rush. Do what works for you. :)

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  17. Write in your own pace. If ten pages a month is what you can do then stick to it. Don't rush. Do what works for you. :)

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  18. It's moving forward, which is better than what I'm doing right now. Besides, two different sets of eyeballs on your work is a good thing.

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  19. You should write at your own pace, but I don't see why you can't just write more pages each month if you want to. Maybe those crit people won't read it until the next month, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to write it, right?

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  20. Write at your own pace. If it's what works best for you, don't knock it.
    I've struggled with my writing pace because I don't seem to have one. I mean I have my "never a day without a line" but that can mean that some days, like yesterday, I barely write a sentence in my journal, and then other days, like on Wednesday, I manage 3,500 words - but not all on one project. I'm a roller coaster writer, but I just keep trying to move forward. Mostly, I know that works for me so I'm okay with it. Other times, I wish I could just do a steady 500 words a day and not have projects in varying states of disarray.

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  21. That's why I have a few trusted critique partners to go over my manuscripts as a whole. It takes a LONG time to get through a manuscript with a critique group, especially if it's only a few pages a month. But taking time with your first few manuscripts isn't a bad thing. That's when you're learning. You get one debut. Don't rush it. :)

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  22. Yeah, I know how you feel. It'd take even longer to go through it with my critique group. My goal is just to get the first draft of book 2 done before November. It isn't looking so great for that...

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