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. Ah, we all have issues. 😉 Great selection of goals to work on. I thought the dialogue one was particularly interesting… because my brain couldn’t do that at all! Are you an auditory learner and hear the dialogue in your head first? I wonder. That makes me think your dialogue must be a real pleasure to read, though. Typically I see a scene unfolding in the mind’s eye first and then supply the dialogue as it’s needed.

    Nice to meet you just as class is ready to begin. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Meredith. Nice to meet you too. 🙂

      Actually, I’m not an auditory learner at all because my mind tends to wander. But for some reason, when I’m writing, I do hear the dialogue first. I certainly hope my dialogue is a “pleasure to read.” I do get good comments on that in critique. I have to close my eyes to see the scene, but dialogue comes to me anytime, anywhere. When I first started my latest novel, if I got stuck, I would start playing Bejeweled and within minutes my characters would start talking again. I had to explain to my husband that I wasn’t sidetracked from writing … I was writing!

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  2. Overall, that’s a pretty short list. The task of writing down goals and issues is cringe worthy to me. There are not enough goals and too many issues.

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    1. Dayner, I’ll bet that if you look closely, you’ll find that a lot of your “issues” are connected. I’m trying to find the common denominator and work on that because I figure, if I fix the bigger problem, the lesser ones will fix themselves.

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  3. I think Tricia unknowingly summed up my core issue best! Unfocused. I put too many projects on the board. Then out of feelings of guilt I bounce from one to the other trying to make headway on each one. Even now I’m trying to focus on the novel, but spring cleaning, spring gardening, a short story, a poem book, and spring fever in general are all begging for my time.

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    1. My problem exactly, Trista. I’ve been hyper-focused on my novel for almost two years and let so many other things slide, but I know I have to find a balance, so I can do justice to all. Ha, that sounds like I’ll be Superwoman! Well … actually, if I can do it all well, I guess I will be. 😀

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  4. You’ve highlighted some interesting issues here. I especially identify with the ‘Telling too much too soon’ item. My critique group are often pointing this out to me. I too have a problem with discipline, procrastination and finishing small projects.

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