Life vs Writing

Life vs Writing

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Is it not life that makes the writer who they are? I believe that both our lives and the very core of our being influence who we are as writers. I often ask myself, if my life had been different, would I still write the way I do?

I have noticed a trend in the social media world that each aspect of our lives seems to be kept separate, independent pages for the food we eat, the books we read, trips we take, to name but a few. I have one page showcasing all that is me, my gorgeous kiddies, my much loved books, my journey as an aspiring to be publish writer, my work life, my culture, cloud porn… As all of these things are an integral part of who I am.

An author’s experiences are echoed in their work. What they feel, see, hear and think about–all part of their world–show up in the characters they dream to life, the genres they choose, their style of writing and the very creation of the story itself. No one lives in a vacuum; the experiences we live through are a necessity in order for us to create.

The people in our lives are probably the greatest influence of all. Although I come from a family of readers, I attribute my love of reading and ultimately my path as a writer to my Grandmother. In her retired years she worked in a book exchange and I would spend most afternoons with her, looking through the piles of dusty books, selecting those which caught my attention. Often she would bring books home for me, our taste in books being almost identical. Books are what cemented the bond between us.

So as much as we all would love to disappear into our own personal ‘Writer Zones’ we must not forget to live life and embrace all that it has to offer, soaking up all the nuances of the people around us, mentally storing all that makes people the characters that they are. And then? Then we can retreat into our own little worlds and create the lives we dream of, the blank books that we were born as now filled with the stories of our lives.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

No pressure but… Write! Write! Write…

No pressure but… Write! Write! Write…

“You can’t fail if you write; silence is the only absolute failure. Each sentence is a small success” – William Hoffman

So my exams are over *insert happy dance here* and this means more time for writing. To date the development of my current work in progress has been sluggish but what keeps me going is the fact that the progress is visible.

Although I am still writing with no particular daily word count goal, as this suits the “no stress” me, I have now been toying with an idea of when I would like to have the first draft finished by. As much as I enjoy being able to just sit down and write what suits me for the day that feeling of enjoyment is becoming overwhelmed by the need to see this phase of the mission complete.

Initially I had an optimistically attainable plan for completing this novel: starting with the prewriting phase of using my brainstorming notes to do the layout, followed by writing the first draft while sticking to my daily word count goal as much as possible, then once completed take a timeout while researching my next project before getting stuck in to work on revising, before doing some serious editing. I did the layout which, surprisingly, I loved and feel has really helped my personal writing process. And at first I stuck to my daily writing goal, which was difficult due to the workload of life, but decided to put aside for a more anxiety free writing experience.

Now my mission continues, with an effort to increase my productivity without re-establishing the pressure of sticking to an intimidation inducing word count. I have to say it: No-one functions well under pressure. Most of us like to think we do, but in reality I really think we don’t or, at least, we don’t accomplish as much as we could. Maybe we feel more inspired with a deadline looming over us, but maybe it’s just a feeling, not reality. Perhaps the outcome is a more productive you, but what of the quality? So I am torn – torn between all the advice of getting the first draft completed as fast as possible because “the first draft of everything is shit” (thanks Ernest Hemingway) – and wanting to put more time and love into my first draft.

So impart your wisdom upon me writers of the bloggiverse, is it unwise to put too much time into a first draft?

“You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” ― Junot Díaz

PS : Please note – this is in respect of general writing time, not amazing quests such a NaNoWriMo.