Goals, Writing

Yes, I have issues

Our first assignment in Merrilee Faber’s Creativity Workshop will be to list our goals. It occurs to me that I’ve never truly had writing goals before. I just write and write and write until the project is done. I may set deadlines, but I rarely meet them. I’m too much an undisciplined writer.

It appears I should have posted my “issues and interests” to address in this workshop two days ago, so I’m already falling behind. From reading the other participant’s issues and interests, I realize I don’t share most of their concerns because:  I write both male and female characters; I write both happy and unhappy endings; (I think) I write solid relationships; I’ve used mostly local settings; and I certainly don’t need to write something other than fantasy. 🙂 (I’m feeling a little out of my element in this workshop because it seems most of the other participants are fantasy writers. Should be interesting.)

Anyway, here are some issues I want to work on, in general and specifically:

  • Discipline. I’m not sure how discipline and creativity can co-exist, but surely they must for writing to succeed as a career. Setting goals might be the first step toward discipline, but preventing myself from getting sidetracked has to be the biggest step.
  • Procrastination. In my defense, the delay in posting my writing issues was not a result of procrastination, but a lack of time to read Merrilee’s blog. However, I consistently put off what I should write (or critique) today … no matter how many times I curse myself when it comes time to scramble to get a job done. So, I’m hoping to overcome this tendency.
  • Finishing small projects. I have a terrible habit of writing a story and then either not editing it, or starting to edit, but not finishing.  Sometimes, I even take the next step of seeking feedback, but then I do nothing with the feedback. This is why I never have anything ready to submit for publication. (I do not have this problem with novels.)
  • Telling too much too soon. I occasionally do have a problem underestimating the intelligence of my reader, but I don’t think this is the cause of my tendency to give too many clues too soon in my horror or psychological suspense writing. (I don’t often have this problem in my literary writing.)
  • Fleshing out dialogue. I write dialogue first, which means that sometimes I leave long strings of “he said, she said” adding only a couple tags and a gesture. I need to work on fully integrating the dialogue into the narrative.

So there, I’ve confessed my issues. but I reserve the right to add to this list as the workshop progresses. Sometimes I don’t realize I have a problem until it’s pointed out to me. Intervention by workshop could  be a good thing.

34 thoughts on “Yes, I have issues”

  1. I’m completely intrigued by the fact that you write dialogue first. I always find it fascinating how other people write – I tend to write everything from beginning to end in full sentences and only miss things out – and I’m talking a couple of words – where I need to research something or check some facts. It means my drafts are fairly complete, but generally need a LOT of work come revisions! Do you hear the conversation in your head and write it down as it plays out? I’ve come across plenty other people who do that, but my characters usually only talk on the page, so I’m fascinated by the concept. 🙂

    Discipline’s one of my problems too, although I hadn’t considered it before – I’m quite good at sitting down to write, but terrible at actually writing once I get there. I get distracted by the internet/games on my phone/books all too easily. Think I need to stop having them near me when I’m supposed to be writing!

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    1. Yes, I do hear the conversations in my head. Some days it’s like taking dictation, on other days I ask a question about a character or event and wait for the character(s) to start talking or thinking about it. I guess that sounds pretty “woo-woo” but other writers should relate. When I say I write the dialogue first, I’m talking scene at a time, not the whole book or story. I don’t necessarily write the scenes in order. If the dialogue for a future scene comes to me, I write it down and then insert it when I write up to it and then flesh it out. I edit as I write, so my “first” drafts are more like other writer’s second, or even third, drafts.

      Discipline … yeah … I keep hearing the advice not to write on a computer that’s hooked to the internet and I’ve resisted, but in my heart, I think that will have to be the solution for me.

      Nice to meet you, Davina.

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      1. Not “woo-woo” at all! I’ve always envied writers who hear and see the characters so clearly – mine only come to life as I write them, and I only know what they’re going to say as the words appear on the page. I wish I could try out your process for a day!

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  2. This sounds like an interesting workshop! I was afraid to sign up for it because I thought I’d get too waylaid from my ongoing and unfinished projects.

    But I will be eager to follow your progress (everyone’s progress) and cheer you on from the sidelines.

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    1. Yeah, like I won’t?! 😀 I hope to learn how to focus better in this workshop, how to set goals and meet them. I’m not sure how many of my main blog posts will be dedicated to my workshop progress, but I will document all on the Creative Workshop page.

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