Thursday, November 27, 2008

Looking back causes gangrene

I was reading some writing advice from Carol Clarke when the phrase "Looking back causes gangrene" hit me. I wish I could write like that.

She's advising writers to get a first draft down and not expect to get it right the first time. How many times do I need to read that before I do it? Maybe I should go back and read some more before I do any more writing. I'm not procrastinating, honest.

Oh, and to all my buddies in the US: Happy Thanksgiving!

19 COMMENTS:

JaneyV said...

I know FH - it's slowly sinking in with me too. I know it makes sense but putting it into practise - that's the tricky bit.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too. When I lobby The House of Commons about having a Thanksgiving Holiday I'll be counting on your support (Hehe)!

fairyhedgehog said...

Two of us should be enough to carry the day. We could really do with an extra holiday.

sylvia said...

God, yes, I need to learn this.

However:

"My husband plays tennis and no one asks him when he's going to play at Wimbledon."

This has already one my favourite-quote-of-the-day award :)

McKoala said...

Hm, on the other hand, does that mean the first draft I've allowed to languish for months is decaying and stinky?

Ahem a St Andrews day holiday before Thanksgiving, please!

Sarah Laurenson said...

And a Happy Non-T-Day to you!

I do not write the first draft quickly (usually). It's not my style. I know that's what the books say to do, but I don't work like that. And I'd rather not force my square peg into that round hole.

I like to edit a few chapters, then write a few new ones. It's a recursive style and it works for me.

platypuspower said...

teach me how to write!
i try to have a sense of humour.
and be crazy, but i dunno if it works.

Whirlochre said...

Hmm — it's either gangrene or diarrhoea, isn't it?

fairyhedgehog said...

Sylvia: Thank you for the award!

McKoala: I'll never say no to a holiday so why not have both?

Sarah: I've tried the edit-as-you-go way and I think I need to do something different. I think everyone needs to find their own way. My way needs to start including some plot.

Platypuspower: There's no way I could teach anyone to write. I'm still a beginner with so much to learn.

Whirlochre: :)

platypuspower said...

yeah, right, and i'm STILL only 12 years old.

fairyhedgehog said...

I can help with basics like grammar and spelling but I wouldn't know how to help someone improve at creative writing. You could try somewhere like Critique Circle where you can get critiques on writing you've done. Some of the people there are beginners but there are also people who are more experienced.

BBJD said...

A belated "Thank You" for the holiday well wishes.

I once read some place that every day we should try to do at least something which supports our dream. If you want to be a writer, then write something every day. Anything. You could keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be for yourself. I’ve been keeping a journal for my son since the day he entered the world. I do not worry about getting bored with it because I know I will never become bored with my son, and I know that as he gets older this journal is going to mean more and more to him. Right now, it's well past 4,000 entries. That’s a long way of saying, find something you like to write about and write about it.

As to stories, I am a lazy writer. I do not write unless the muse comes to visit. (I keep an open invitation to her.) When she does, I write feverishly for weeks on end, knowing that when she eventually leaves I will write nothing until her next visit. After she leaves I take on the daunting responsibility of editing what I’ve written. Then I actually have to work, but I have something to work on. I no longer have to be “creative”.

Of course, all of this writing doesn't necessarilly made me a good writer. I have an open invitation for that muse, too.

fairyhedgehog said...

I suppose I need to ask myself the question whether writing is my dream or not.

I bet your son loves his journal.

BBJD said...

I suppose I need to ask myself the question whether writing is my dream or not.

Some days it does seem more like a nightmare than a dream, doesn't it?

I bet your son loves his journal.

He's reached the age where he's become curious about his past. Sometimes he'll take a few pages and read them before bed. Which reminds me, I need to print some more pages.

I also realize I didn't make it clear my earlier post was for platypuspower. Sorry, if I implied other. You may call yourself "a beginner", but you're ahead of me.

fairyhedgehog said...

I didn't realise you were talking to Platypuspower, BBJD.

I'm not quite sure why you think I'm ahead of you - I've not been on any writing courses and I've had nothing published. My Nano's to date remain largely unedited and it seems like I'm just beginning to find out what's involved in creative writing.

BBJD said...

I didn't realise you were talking to Platypuspower, BBJD.

Yeah. That's what I mean about my "messy" writing.

I'm not quite sure why you think I'm ahead of you.

You exude a lot more confidence - and competence - than I. I envy you. I'm too afraid.

I've not been on any writing courses and I've had nothing published.

My last writing course was a correspondence course for Children's Literature back in the 1980s. Before that it was high school creative writing in the 1970s. I'm hardly educated myself.

As for being published: nothing. Unless you want to count seventeen months working at a small town newspaper. No, I dream about seeing my novels on bookstore shelves, but I have many days where the dream seems unattainable.

My Nano's to date remain largely unedited and it seems like I'm just beginning to find out what's involved in creative writing.

Well, I don't even know what a "Nano" is. As to what's involved in creative writing, I only know it means writing so that others want to read. Easily said.

fairyhedgehog said...

I may seem confident but I think I'm just old. The two can seem similar.

"Nano" is www.nanowrimo.org

platypuspower said...

my blog is my journal, but,
i type rubbish sometimes.
like: YAAAAAYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for no reason whatsoever.
that's probably because i can't concentrate.
and when i actually write something on a piece of paper, i doodle, unless it's homework.
also, i have horrible handwriting.
also, my birthday is next week sunday.

fairyhedgehog said...

Doodling is good.

platypuspower said...

but i doodle rubbish too.
like totally random scribbles.
just lines.

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