Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm not a careful person. I don't take care in the things I do. Ever since we moved into the condo, this fact is becoming more apparent. I hang up pictures without measuring, I clean the exposed surfaces but omit the parts under the couch or behind the toilet, if a bottle says to let something dry for 24 hours, I usually think 12 is enough. Although it seems more evident now, looking back, I'm pretty sure I have always been this way. I always finished tests too fast, wrote essays without going back to edit, applied to colleges that I wanted to go to as opposed to ones that would actually accept me. So really, Nanowrimo is the perfect activity for me...maybe.

It is evident that my carelessness translates into my writing. I'm a drafter. I'll churn it out, read it over, churn out another version, read it over again and repeat the process. But I'm not one of those authors who is obsessed with everything being perfect. I won't get caught up in revisions thinking that my project will never be good enough. I'll work on it until it's as good as it's going to get, no more. Once it's acceptable, once it's decent enough, I'm sending it out. Does that mean I've submitted things that aren't as good as they could be? Probably. But for me, when I'm close to the project, when in my mind the story is completed, it's difficult to go back.

This is not the best approach, in fact, it's pretty bad. But am I any worse off than the authors who sit for hours pondering the perfect sentence or dwelling on the ideal word? Probably not. While they spent half their day worrying about language I just churned out my thousand words. As I could stand to take more care with my writing, they could stand to let language alone for a bit and just tell the damn story. Nanowrimo gives me permission to be careless, enables me to continue my bad habit. Banging away at my keyboard for hours letting the words flow isn't necessarily making me a better writer. Feel free to leave your thoughts.

8000 words and counting...


Ronni said...

You'll fill in the details later! Just let it flow - I can't wait to read it.:-)

Quinn said...

Kurt Vonnegut once divided writers into two categories: swoopers and bashers. A basher will sit and mull over every word carefully, writing very slowly and doing little editing once they've finished. A swooper is more like you. He called himself a basher, but he didn't consider either one to be a better strategy, rather more of a natural inclination.

I'm not sure I fit either category, but I definitely know what you mean about only perfecting something to a point. I think I just get bored after enough revision. I knew some people who rather brashly declared that "good enough is not good enough," but if you ask me, sometimes it is.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

"This is not the best approach, in fact, it's pretty bad."

I think the important thing is whether or not it works for you. if it does, well, then it can't be that bad.