Early Birds Get Word Time

But more importantly, quiet. And coffee. Especially coffee, but mostly just an hour without children clamoring for attention. Good news on that front! Wee-er Dave will be rocking mornings at the local Montessori next month when Wee-Dave starts preschool. I’ll get them up, fed, and dressed (cold, dead, and lifeless hands, non-Oxford comma heretics!) and to their respective babysitterslearning establishments, and then I’ll have a blessed three hours(ish) to write. Every day.

I’m so excited I can barely sit still.

And after Mom and Pop Dave’s visit (it’s been a rough week since they left. I’m the only authority figure the littles have to rebel against, so I’m catching ALL THE GRIEF) I know I can just drop into the writing as soon as I get the chance. And the space to be somewhere besides home. This last seems to be key for me. No distractions, no chores, and all the food is stuff I have to pay for, which is a deterrent to gobbling flakey pastries I don’t need to be eating in the first place.

This came up in conversation last night (not the pastries, which I still don’t need to eat) and it bears repeating: You don’t know the worth or quality of your own work. Something about writers (and other artists, to a lesser degree. Maybe) is we are inveterate meddlers. It comes of creating worlds ripe for destructionconflict, and then taking the people living there and putting them through umpteen kinds of hell. There is no paradise so delightful that we can’t figure out how to start a war, just for the writing opportunities.

But: inveterate meddlers. We can’t leave well enough alone, is the point. So there’s always one more pass to get the manuscript tight and polished. Always another scene to get that character arc just so.

Well, knock it off. Finish it. Once it’s finished, it’s done. And it’s good enough to move on to the next project. Do that one, and apply what you learned on the work you just finished. Do too much “editing” (some of which is legit, most of which isn’t) and you’ll just polish the life out of it.

Oh, and for you in the back – I saw you come in late – you’re already a good enough writer to publish. All of you are. Get your story to a couple of people you trust as readers who won’t just gush (Mom Dave would tell me if she thought it was crap. I’m pretty sure). People who read in the genre you’re writing. Take their opinion. I have to do that. I don’t think I’ve ever been satisfied with something I’ve written. Not because I don’t think it’s any good (it’s gotta be *some* good, right?) but because I’m a writer, and messed up in the head. But I repeat myself. And so I trust the people around me who read voraciously, and who write.

So finish things, trust people, and keep writing. Wear your publisher hat when you need to. Think about investing in an external editor (your internal one is probably a jerk. I know mine is. I keep him chained in the dark, and only feed him whisky and shreds of my own soul) if your readers express significant concerns. And don’t spend too much time revising. Unless you’re doing a complete rewrite or your readers start sending you nasty-grams. Let somebody else’s head hurt over your story.


  1. My children are almost-nine and just-turned-four, and this week my wife started a “real job” of the 8:30-5pm variety, which means the kids are in summer camps at their school until school starts in a few weeks. This regularizes bedtime (they have to get up at 7am to get there on time, which means bedtime at 8-8:30pm) EVERY NIGHT.

    The attendant boost in my RPG writing, layout, and other productivity is ridiculously out of proportion to what it should be.

  2. Three hours(ish) to write can get an amazing amount done. If you, you know, stay off the interwebs.

    Four (?) years ago my husband had a serious hand injury and wound up with _hours_ of PT three days a week. I drove, and took my lap top. Hours with no internet, no one interrupting as I typed madly away in the waiting room . . . wrote _Directorate School_ in three weeks and kept going.

    If your inner editor starts screaming, give him those bits and pieces of time between kid-interruptions, ditto social media.

    1. Oh, I ignore the inner editor. Sort of. I actually tend to edit as I go, which doesn’t appreciably slow me down. I don’t know how I do it, really. It’s like “oh, better word for that, there,” and I’m off again. Seems to work for me.

    2. I observe that I found that after a time, the inner editor and the inner writer merge together. Once I had a rule that when aware I could use only one adjective, and in doubt of which is use, to write down both and revise out one later. I haven’t used it in years because it’s got a lot easier to pick in the throes of composition.

  3. I just finished the last revision pass through _Against a Rising Tide_. One little voice says, “but you need more here, and to polish this, and you have not said much about Romania and it needs back-story and—” The rest of me is to brain tired and does not care to go dipping into that part of history at the moment. It’s too depressing. Enough, the story is done. It goes to edits and cover designer tomorrow.

      1. in my case, I’m referring to the audio for my youtube channel trailer.

        Gonna try writing a script and rerecording the audio.

  4. My process has changed over the last year. I’ve been following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice, and now cycle through my stories. The only editing I do is for spelling and grammar: dam those apostrophes. Rewriting is only for when the craft of the story has gone down the crapper; as in the story makes no sense.

    Not saying that doing any of this has made writing easier, but it has made writing more enjoyable.

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