Update on My Writing

Yes, I’m skipping Flash Fiction Friday again this week. I’m sorry. I’m struggling with my writing right now, and here’s why:

I entered part of my novel in a contest that I felt was a worthwhile contest with a prestigious organization. I didn’t make it past the first level of judges, but that doesn’t bother me.

So, what does bother you? You may ask.

What bothers me is the fact that one of the judge’s feedback can be completely tossed out the window because the judge micro-focused on one thing that I had my character do that this judge felt was unacceptable without knowing how or if the character’s action would be redeemed by the end of the story,  and this judge ranted about it for most of the feedback and gave me a ridiculously low score because of it.

Now, I am not one who gets my feelings hurt about my writing very easily. I have learned how to be thick-skinned. I have been having people critique my work for two years. No, not this same manuscript. This is my second attempt at writing a novel in two years. The first one became trash when I tried to add 15,000 words to it in 30 days and it became so much of a mess, I felt it was just better to put it away and chalk it up as a learning experience.

The thing is, the other two judges who judged this same piece gave scores that were more closely related, and closer to what I figured I may score. They also offered some constructive criticism and neither of them mentioned the one thing the other judge couldn’t shift his or her focus from. I also had two different critique groups critiquing this WIP for months, and I have been working hard on revising and editing as I continue to work on the story itself, and I know that I have improved. Many of my critique partners have also pointed my improvement out.

However, the two judges who gave me worthwhile feedback made some good points; points that a couple of other people had also mentioned, which is a good thing.

So, you repeat, “What bothers you?”

What bothers me is how HARD writing is! So, if you are a newbie, be sure you understand WRITING IS HARD WORK — at least good writing; writing that readers will want to read; writing that you put your blood, sweat and tears into because YOU WANT TO BE THE BEST WRITER YOU CAN BE, not just a writer who writes a story and self-publishes without having anyone edit or critique the story just because they can. No, I WANT TO BE THE BEST WRITER I CAN BE, so I’ll be rewriting chapter one A-GAIN, and probably making a lot of changes throughout as I strive to complete this manuscript; to make it a story that READERS WILL WANT TO READ.

So, that means that this story will take me much longer than a year to complete. Yeah, NaNoWriMo may say you complete a novel in a month, but I got news for you, that’s just the ROUGH DRAFT! Then come the critiques and edits, at least one of the edits should be a “self edit”, and the critiques should be done by people you know and trust who know about writing. Then you should have an actual editor edit it and this all leads to MULTIPLE REWRITES! Then, if you really want your manuscript to be the best it can be, you send it to Beta Readers for feedback, and then revise and rewrite one more time! And then, if you’re lucky, it will finally be the best it can be and you can then publish it.

And, no, I did not participate in NaNoWriMo. Maybe some day I will, but right now, I have enough hard work to do on my writing without having to meet daily writing goals to finish a novel, that won’t be publishable in a month anyway.

How about you? Have you learned that WRITING IS HARD? Do you keep writing anyway? Have you done NaNoWriMo and what was that experience like?

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4 thoughts on “Update on My Writing

  1. Jill, Thank you for your kind words and your understanding. I, too, can’t not write. It is part of me. I just have to come to terms with the fact that it may take me another year to finish writing, revising and editing my work in progress. It’s just hard to be patient when our finances are tight. I don’t expect to ever get rich on my writing, but I was hoping to at least be able to earn a little to help out with our household finances. Also, people who ask you about what you are writing and sound really interested don’t want to hear, “I should have it finished in another year”. I just have to accept the nature of the beast. 🙂

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  2. Hi Kelly,

    I can relate to what you are saying about the hard part of writing. Some weeks I feel like I want to quit, but in actuality, I really don’t want to quit writing. However, there are days when negativity and self criticism take up residence in my head, and that’s when I’m most susceptible to feeling like throwing in the towel. On those days I try to remember that feelings are fleeting, and tomorrow will be different. It may take me a day or two, but eventually I return to the keyboard. Honestly, writing is part of who I am, and I can’t not write. As far as NaNoWriMo, no, I have not participated in that event, and I doubt I ever will. November is like one of the craziest months of the year, and to add attempting to write a novel in that month does not sound fun at all. While it may take me another year or two to finish researching and writing my work in progress, I’m ok with that. I’d rather take longer and be satisfied with the finished product than rush the process and end up with a disheveled mess. As far as the judges, glean what you can from them and let the rest go. Hang in there and keep submitting your work.

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    • Hi Charlotte, Thank you for visiting, becoming a follower and leaving a comment. You are what bloggers wish for. I know that the goal of critics is to help you improve, but there is a kind way to do that and a not-so-kind way to do that. Unfortunately, writers encounter both types.

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