Thursday, December 22, 2011

Whether to finish what we've started or to start something new.

Last year I wrote a blog about this topic: I discussed the value of polishing and finishing what we've started over going to something new before finishing what we've already started. So, here I sit, a year later, still working on the same novel. Is that patience, or what? And when you consider that I've actually been working on this novel in one form or another for over five years, well, that's a lot of patience.

Once again, I'm chomping at the bit to start something new. I so much want to do so. I so much want to move on to new characters, new ideas, new schemes, etc. But is it wise to do so? Is it better to keep working on this same novel, especially when I'm pretty close to finishing it? Tanya Reimer has read it and given me valuable feedback, which is what I'm now incorporating into the, hopefully, last draft. It is really, only months away from being finished if I can just keep working on it, not give up.

This novel is pretty long, though it'll be shortened a bit, thanks to Tanya's sharp eye. But in the future, I want my novels to be shorter. Say, about 80,000 words max. I want to be able to finish a novel within one year, maybe even six months. I'm sixty-five years old, not getting any younger. Am I running out of time? I hope not, but you never know.

I wrote another post: I praised the value of making it when you're younger, which is difficult to do as a writer. It's lack of life experience (which is a debatable topic, to say the least, but it's the way I feel). Making it young as a writer is getting published (by the traditional method) maybe in you late twenties or early thirties. But, you can make it any time, really, in your fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, and, with the aid of collaborative authors (James Patterson, and many other older writers are doing it) you can write until your dying breath. But, the value of making it when you're younger is unsurpassed for a comfortable writing life. But, that's out of the question for me. I'm no longer young. I am "running out of time." That's one of the reasons I've decided to self-publish from this point on. The years it takes to go through literary agents, if you can find one, and then the agent to find a publisher, if she can find one, then for the publisher to actually produce a book...well, I don't want to go that route any longer. Yet, I want my writing to be well done, as well as I can make it. So it's back to patience. Patience is priceless. I can only hope I don't run out of time.


Misha Gericke said...

Any of us can run out of time, no matter how young we are. That's why I set the goal to finish Doorways once and for all within the next six months. I can't sit on it forever. After all, I've been working on it for almost five years.

But at the same time, I went on with three other books, of which one is half way through the rough draft and another is a quarter way through the rewrite.

It's all about knowing when to take a break from your first love.

Ann Best said...

I used to worry about "running out of time" also. But I don't anymore, and like you, Richard, I will self-publish if I feel I have something worthwhile to put "out there." But see, you're learning patience. This is a virtue I'm struggling to accomplish as a full time caregiver!! More and more, I want to do a superb job with this. And this is where my patience is tested to the limit - NOT from my writing which never shouts back or has an agitation fit!

I think it's all a matter of perspective.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Tanya Reimer said...

I loved this post. I feel that panicky I'm running out of time feeling all the blasted time. Nice to know I am not alone.

I normally work on two novels at a time. It takes twice as long, but one can cool while I edit, rewrite and tear the other to pieces. And it satisfies those cravings for new characters. Bonus, two novels are done in the same month!

Nancy Thompson said...

Happy holidays, Richard!

Pk Hrezo said...

Merry Christmas, Richard!

The Golden Eagle said...

The first project I finished took 18 months and counting the rewrites I started but never finished, it was almost two years. I didn't like the fact that the writing was taking so long, either; it's frustrating to stay on the same thing for too long.

And you're definitely right--patience IS priceless.

LynNerdKelley said...

I'm no longer young either. We're all at different points in our lives and writing journeys. As long as we keep at it, it's all good. I know that I'll never stop studying the craft of writing and strive to improve, but I'm also going to self-publishing route from now on. Best of luck to you in finishing your novel. You're so close! Woo hoo! Happy New Year, Richard!

Clarissa Draper said...

What great articles. Even though I'm still relatively young. I still feel the pressure to write. I never know how much time I have left either and I hate to waste any days.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Well, I think you have the right approach: whether you self-publish or not, holding to writing a really good book and taking the time to make it good. I would love to write fast books too, but good things do take time. Your WIP sounds like it's going to be something of value, and that can't just be flipped out like a hamburger.

BTW December got away from me, and today I finally settled down and blogged a big thank you for your review of my book and the Great Comments Award. Stop by my blog and check it out. And thanks again, Richard, for your great support.

Deb Shucka said...

I'm not that far behind you age-wise and have had the same concerns. The problem is that we get hung up on not having enough time and the time we spend worrying could have been spent writing. Wishing you a year of successful and satisfying writing.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Don't give up, Richard. Finish your first love, then begin on the next one. I call it love, because that's what it is, a labour of love.
The fact is, we're all running out of time. Sometimes I panic about it, other times, I think what will be will be. How many of us who are connected by our blogs, will ever be published in the so-called traditional way? We're pessimistic optimists. We know it may never happen, but we just keep right on doing it. Because we love it. Don't we?