Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Write Pressure
13,964 words and counting. If I stopped right now, I'd have a fifty-page short story with no ending. My goal is to reach 20,000 by the end of the month. In Stephen King's "On Writing," he suggests to write a first draft with the door closed, and revise with the door open. In other words, finish a first draft alone, without feedback or criticism (both positive and negative). Only once that draft is finished should it be read by anyone else. He makes a good argument for this: as a writer, you don't want to get hung up on the small things along the way. Keep going, keep plowing through without worrying about that one word in a paragraph toward the beginning.
But prior to this recent venture into fiction, my writing experience was in college--when I got weekly feedback and criticism--and these last three or four years blogging--where I get nourishment from reader comments or simply page views. So for me to take on this big project--a novel--I need similar nourishment, whether it's constructive criticism from my writing group, praise from my mother (who is so unbiased;), or a daily question from my wonderfully supportive boyfriend, "So how much did you write?"
I spent about three hours in a Bruegger's Bagels relishing the pressure not to connect to their free wi-fi. I got a lot finished, freeing me to write this entry. Winning!
By the way: King also suggests writing 2000 words a day. They don't have to be good words, but you should get that much down. I like that in theory. But in practice, it doesn't work for me; I tend to edit as I go. It slows me down, I guess, but hopefully it means I'll spend less time revising.