Just Get It Written

Dream, Create, and Make It Happen …

I’m a Tortoise, Not A Hare (IWSG)


Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. – E. L. Doctorow


It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for our group posting for IWSG. Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for April are Suzanne Furness, Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!

As A-Z’ers kick off the A-Z Challenge and Campers get busy for a month of Camp NaNoWriMo, I find myself stuck as everyone else surges forward this crazy month. A-Z has always seemed so daunting to me, but Camp seemed like a good idea, especially since I really had fun with it last year.

In the end, I had to make a decision: Do I get back to creating, or do I stick with revising? I could have countless drafts and it won’t do me any good if I can’t see something to the very endโ€”something that I would actually be proud to let others read (which is an insecurity that I will save for another day). There are times when I feel like I’m going in circles, reading and revising the same chapters over and over again. Is there any point to all of this, or am I deceiving myself? Am I chasing something that will never be? But I still love the story, and no matter how long a break I take from writing, I inevitably keep coming back. That, at least, has to mean something, doesn’t it?

One of my current WIP’s is my Camp novel from last year, Lost. It currently sits at 60,940 words. It’s very slow progress, considering I finished Camp with 51k words. I spent a lot of time second-guessing the third person narrative in which it was originally written. I ended up rewriting a portion of it in first person, just to see if that suited the story better. It didn’t. While some parts worked better with the first person voice, the over-all story suffered from it. So back to third person I went.

Maybe it’s a natural progression, something I had to do and see for myself, to see how the narrative plays out. Or maybe I wouldn’t have wasted all that time if I had a writers group or a CP. Who knows? Sometimes it feels like I’m hardly moving at all.

Do you find yourself rewriting scenes in different points of view, just to see how it works out? At what stage of writing/revisions do you feel confident enough to show your novel to others? How did you find your writers group and/or critique partner, if you have one? Any tips on how to find one?

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21 thoughts on “I’m a Tortoise, Not A Hare (IWSG)

  1. I completely understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. I’m still revising and re-working my first NaNo novel from 2013! When I need a break, I head over to the novel I started for 2014 but couldn’t finish (final word count was about 34k). What’s slower than a tortoise? Whatever it is, that would be me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I still love my 2013 novel and will continue to re-work it until I feel it’s good enough for someone else’s eyes to read. It’s slow going for sure, but keep it up! Your hard work will pay off in the long run. Hugs to you. Eva

    • Thanks Eva! It really means a lot to me for you to say that; makes me feel not so quite alone in this boat. Sometimes it feels like I’m not moving, but you’re so right. We just have to keep going. Thank you!

  2. I tend to rewrite the same scene and chapters as well. Especially the beginning chapters of my wip. But now I’ve made it a point to just ignore those first couple of chapters. Just treat them like they’ve never existed. And dive straight into the middle which needs my greatest attention. As for getting critiques and feedback, I’m on sites like Scribophile, You Write On, Authonomy and Book Country. I’m comfortable enough sharing my work there because with their critiques, I can turn a fool’s gold manuscript into platinum.

    • That’s a good idea–just skip the beginning and go straight to where it matters! I find that I end up scrapping a lot of those changes in the beginning chapters anyways. I’ve heard of Scribophile but not the other sites. I’ll check them out. Thanks!

  3. I *wish* I could give you answers to your questions, but I’ve not attempted a full-length novel since NaNoWriMo eons ago – and that’s remained an unedited, crappy first draft. I DO, however, totally know about insecurity and the doubts which continually surface: are my aspirations towards authorship a product of a delusional mind? Simple answer: nope. We’re not delusional. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you can’t keep away from writing, you’re a writer. If you have time, read R.M. Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet; I think it speaks to all writers not just poets. It’s a very short book (not even 30 pages) and free from the Guggenheim Project. Totally inspirational. See you at next month’s IWSG!

  4. I get caught up in the revising circle all the time – in the end I just have to stand up, literally, and say, out loud or I won’t take notice, “Enough now!” I just get a gut feeling that the next revision will end up making the novel worse.

    I find my beta readers through my blog/Facebook connections, although I don’t have a formal arrangement with any of them. They’re just people I know who might be interested in reading my next thing.

    Good luck. If in doubt, stop revising and get someone to read it!

    • Thanks, Annalisa! I love what you said about stepping away instead of being stuck in revising circle. I need to keep that in mind! And a second pair of eyes is invaluable, I’m sure. I just need to get the courage to be ready for that!

  5. Your post really hit a nerve with me this month. I totally understand your insecurities. I rewrote an entire novel from third person POV to first person. It took forever, but it is a much better novel after the effort. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as an author is – sometimes you have to go back and start all over again to tell the story you actually want to tell. Especially when a draft is part of the frenzied nano experience, sometimes what we thought was the story, isn’t.

    A good critique group could help you stay on track. I found my group through Meetup (a kind of internet bulletin board of meetings) and on the internet. There are some good Facebook groups where you might find a critique partner. It might take a few false starts, but a good writing buddy is a wonderful thing.

    • I can’t even imagine what that must’ve been like, but your hard work paid off and you were able to tell the story the way it needed to be told. Thanks tor the tips on finding CP’s!

  6. That’s always a huge crossroad. Revise? Create? I’m stuck there at the moment, so I’m in sympathy.

    • Sorry to hear about you being stuck atm. It’s a rough spot to be in–wait it out or force it? Either way, I’m sure you have better methods than me. Here’s hoping the muse finds her way back to you soon!

  7. Yes, I’ve totally written chapters from 1st and 3rd, and then not known which was better. (Thankfully my CPs knew.) Don’t worry about making the “right” decision regarding create vs revise. Some projects take longer than others. As long as you’re getting a few words on screen (or at least are in the planning stage) you’re doing great!

  8. it’s a tough choice! i’m working on two things and trying to work out the ending to my main wip… always something! good luck & happy writing!

  9. I’ve heard of the Insecure Writer’s – what a good idea to stay motivated.

  10. A single word is progress. This has been what I say to myself over and over. Eventually, I will get to the end. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve got way too much stuff going on in my life to worry about not doing it all. Or so I like to tell myself. Wish there was an easier way to do this. But what’s easy isn’t worth it.

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