Sitting in the car for nearly 24 hours over the past week left me with a lot of time to think. Mostly, I thought about my writing, how far I have come, and how far I have left to go. I’m sure that reading bird by bird along the way did not hurt.
I had a few epiphanies that I want to share because writing cements them in my mind. The first is that I was writing too fast. Nanowrimo was amazing in getting me into a disciplined practice of producing words quickly, but it also instilled this frenzied need to write for a deadline. The more I pore over my work, add sections, listen to feedback, and rewrite, the more I realize that books emerge on their own time. Instead of pushing myself to finish with a deadline, I’ve switched philosophies. As long as I’m working everyday to make it better, I have no deadline. I’d rather create something I’m proud to share with an audience than something I’m proud to have finished quickly.
Second, the ability to write well develops slowly. I get impatient when things do not come easily. I have always loved to write, but I never believed I was capable of writing a book. It seemed too complicated, too hard. Nanowrimo was amazing because it pushed me past those first few chapters that always left me stalled in the past. Now that I know I can write a whole book, I have to refine my abilities, even if it means that sometimes I am writing in circles. Acknowledging that learning to write well takes time is important because I am determined not to give up. In the grand scheme of things, I am still a writing baby. It will take time to grow into the writer I want to be, I need to stop pressuring myself to grow too quickly.
Third, I have to remember why I write. I write because it’s fun, because I have this deep need inside myself to let all the words in my head escape. For me, writing is like running or drinking coffee, it’s something that I wake up with the need to do each day. When I wrote my book, I wrote it for me. I asked myself what kind of book I would like to read and then lived inside the story as it unfolded. It was amazingly fun. Sometimes I forget this feeling when I start to pressure myself to get it right for other people to read. That’s why I think it’s important that I continue to remind myself that I write because it’s part of me, because I derive enjoyment from it. This is why I’m removing my internal deadlines. Deadlines make it feel stressful, take away the joy. At this point in my writing career, they’re just not necessary.
So, there you have it. Writing thoughts from 24 hours in the car and reading bird by bird. If you have not read bird by bird and you are a writer, I highly recommend it.