Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To each his own

I mentioned this in passing on Monday, but I thought it was worth dealing with head on.

The writer/reader community is so immensely supportive 99% of the time, that sometimes I forget that it's not always like that. I don't know what it was like last November, since I'd just started this blog, and had not yet discovered writer, reader and agent bloggers. But this year, it seems like everybody loves or hates nano. And there are quite a few, on either side, who are all but calling the other side idiots.


Hi, my name is Claire and I can't commit.

Well, maybe can't is too strong a word. But commitment for me involves feeling like I want to jump off a cliff 19 days out of 20. I do not mean this figuratively.

In the last 10 years, I've lived in 3 countries. In my lifetime, I've visited 17, and 12 US states. It took 2 colleges and 6 years to do my bachelor's degree, and then just barely. I've worked in 9 jobs in 6 different fields in the last 12 years. In my school days, I was the master of the 4 month relationship. In fact, I had 3 relationships that ended at 4 months 20 days. (hmmm...)

Blame it on what you will: being bipolar, being ENFP, being a Sagittarius, etc. At the end of the day the important thing is this: either I do something fast and furious, I let the tide carry me through it, or I don't do it at all.

I want to write books. Having twenty 10,000 word starts is really not an option, and you can't really drift along in writing. So it's nano or nothing. Even if there was no nano, that would be my only choice for writing.

You know I swear by my nano.

But does that mean you should do it, too? Not unless it's for you, for whatever reason.

Writing is subjective. If it wasn't, every book ever published would be a bestseller. There would be a scientific way to determine what was great in a novel, and no publishing company would ever take on anything else. The fact that there are bestsellers and prizewinners that we don't like, proves the subjectivity of this business.

Yet, somehow, some people are missing the subjectivity of the writing process.

I have friends who plot everything down to every single time the character blows his/her nose. There are others who start with nothing more than a name and a premise. And there are a tons of others in between these extremes.

For some people the beauty of each word used is the most important thing. For others, the story matters most.

Some people favour reading and writing great characters, some people lean towards great plots. And some aren't willing to sacrifice one for the other.

Some people will spend 8 years researching and writing a novel. Some others will crank one out in 15 days.

Maybe you write only what you know. Maybe you're writing about a country you've never visited.

What does it matter?

I don't care if your only prewriting process is standing on your head in your Wonderwoman underwear, or if you dance by the light of the moon to kill your writers' block.

Your process is only important to you.

All I care about is the awesomesauce book you'll have at the end.


Unknown said...

You know, Claire, I think it boils down to this: there are just a lot of haters in the creative industries. I think it stems from how subjective of a business it is. Even if you've "made it", people can, and will, think you suck. (And tell you so, it seems.) It creates a lot of doubt and insecurity, and that sometimes breeds the desire to tear others down.

People just have to stay true to their process, and trust their abilities. I'm not worried about you, because like Cartman, "You do what you want!" :) However, I hate to see all of the negativity in general, because you never know who is on the verge of giving up.

Sometimes, people are just waiting for one more person to tell them to give up, and they will. Personally, I'd rather be the person to tell them to keep trying when all they need is one more person to have faith in them and they'll carry on.

Rock on to both NaNo'ers and Non-NaNo'ers, I say.

Marsha Sigman said...

Everyone does it differently and as long as it works for you, then I say go for it. I can't do NaNo, just too many variables in my life so it's hard to stick with a certain number of words per day/week/month but I sure don't knock anyone else that does it.

Abby Stevens said...

I think this is a great post, Claire. Thank you for writing it, because you captured my thoughts exactly. I am a very slow, deliberate writer/editor, and NaNo completely doesn't work for me, but I see so much value in it, if nothing else because it promotes creativity! It doesn't matter if NaNoers win or lose, they spent time and energy doing something creative instead of droning in front of the TV or mindlessly trolling Facebook. And THAT is a good thing!