Striking Out

It just occurred to me as I titled this post that “striking out” can be positive or negative.

I’m striking out on a new adventure! 🙂

I’m striking out on this revision. 😦

I am hopeful that I mean the former.

I had a weird night, mostly in that I didn’t sleep, not for one minute. I stayed up looking at clickbait, and then it was one am, then I stayed up reading, and then it was four am, and then I watched YouTube, and then it was six am, and then the sun was up and I wasn’t tired whatsoever, so I got up, went downstairs, and now I’m on my computer, and it’s seven-thirty am, and I just yawned. This is my life.

Anyway, I’m diving into a new revision today. I plotted and prayed (and need to do more of both, I’m sure), but long-time blog readers will know that too much plotting destroys my soul and the soul of my stories, so I’m walking into the battlefield mostly unarmed.

Writing takes so much courage. It costs me just to open up my document.

And even though I prefer going in with just a minimal plan, it’s still really, really scary. (Maybe even scarier? I hate to pit plotters and pantsers against each other. Writing– period– is just really hard and vulnerable and frightening– period.)

Think of me today.

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A Humble, Hesitant Defense of Pantsers

I know I’ve been spewing on this blog since last night, but I have a hundred million emotions, and I haven’t been blogging, so in some ways, these hundred million emotions have been locked up inside me, and I need to get them OUT OUT OUT. I’m a mess, to be honest.

So, lately I’ve been a little (or more) stung when one of my favorite authors has really been slamming the whole “pantsers” process. For those unfamiliar with my terminology here, it’s a term you hear in the writing word: some are plotters (they plot and plan prior to writing a book) and some are “pantsers” (they write by the seat of their pants). I write my first drafts as a pantser. It’s the only way 1) I know how and 2) I can. I’ve tried to plot before, and then I lose all the energy around the project and can’t even start it.

Anyway, this writer I really admire has been really shredding the pantser process, saying that you can’t write a life-changing book that way. In addition, this other blog I follow and really respect said much the same thing. It’s hard not to feel attacked, even though obviously these posts aren’t aimed directly at me– but indirectly, they are!

I want to be indignant and upset and mad and frustrated (and I am … and have even spouted off on Twitter about it a little), but I also want to acknowledge that I’m new to this. Yes, I’ve been writing my whole life, but not professionally. My first book comes out in just over a week, and I’m working on a second one. I’m at the starting line. This would not be the first time that I’ve vocally disagreed with something that I later come to embrace. Which is why I’m being hesitant. I could see myself eating my words in ten years. Because I’m hasty and an amateur.

But GOSH, does it bother me to have people that I respect slam my writing process! It’s so very hard to have an author I admire essentially prescribe the right way to write. Yes, a pantser probably has a lot more rounds of revisions– but I’d hope that the final product masks that. Yet, this author says that a well-thought-out perfect sentence on the front end will always be better than a multiple-times-revised sentence. I just can’t win.

It probably shouldn’t bother me the way it does. But it’s hard to have a hero say, “You’re doing it wrong.”

I’m cranky and tremendously emotional, and I feel snubbed by the profession in more ways than one. Oh, and I forgot to take my OCD meds yesterday, which I’m sure doesn’t help things.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I thought getting the book deal would be the hardest part of the publication process, but that’s not even close. The revisions were so much harder and the emotions are a BEAST. Sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever figure out the writing life– or how to toughen up my skin enough to make it in this field I love. I never imagined that a week away from publishing my debut novel I would feel so sad and alone and scared and bedridden.

Sigh. And I need to revise novel #2 today. It’s okay. I chose this life, and I honestly do love it. I can’t imagine not being a writer. It is one of the sweetest joys I’ve ever been allowed– a reason I believe in God!– but oh, is it ever hard.

Thank you for listening. ❤

girl typing on a typewriter