Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Consuming Time

Writing is all about time. Time you’re willing to invest in spinning a tale that may or may not be published, according to the whims of your editors. Time that you’re willing to give up something else in order to write the tale that may or may not be accepted according to the whims of your editors.

That paints a pretty bleary picture, doesn’t it?

I think that people spend far too much time on their writing. There’s the blog that must be posted every day, or every other day. There’s Twittering and Facebooking that must be done. There’s that article to attend to, and this essay, and blah blah blah. Plus, nowadays writing several books a year is normal!!

Four books a year?!?!?!? I’ve only been writing seriously for 7-1/2 years, and I used to finish a book a month when I was 12. How? By forgoing almost all family and play-time, parked on my computer pounding out words, and producing truly, truly inferior work. That only lasted about six months. I was soon sick of sitting, and I discovered that I really wanted to be with my family—to have human interaction. I needed it.

I think that was the genesis of my social-butterfly side. ;0)

It took me three and a half years to complete the first draft of my first "real" book. By real, I mean no plagiarizing, no 2-D characters, no artificial plot contrivances. To date, I'm still working on the editing for The Second Crown.  This edit is going to be my final draft, and then hopefully it will find a cozy home on a publisher's desk. I've been willing to invest a lot in The Second Crown, but there were also other things I invested my time in, willingly or unwillingly. Piano lessons, schoolwork, orchestra, Frisbee, H2Os, making a movie, just hanging with friends, emailing, talking on the phone, blogging, watching movies, being with my family.

Now that I know my writing processes a bit better, my second book, Roliwyn, looks like it's going to be first-draft complete in two years, or a little over. And while some things have been dropped from my list, others, like my writing lessons and my courtship with Justin, have hopped onboard. Some things, such as spending time with Justin and his family and my family, now take priority, which is as it should be. 

I think our culture is focused too much on "quantity over quality." Seriously. Four books a year? C'mon! No one can write like that and produce serious quality work.

Example: Ted Dekker's books that come out last year; Adam, Renegade, Chaos, Kiss, Sinner...and another...help me out here, I can't remember the last one. Anyway, I read all of them. In fact, I think I've read almost all of Dekker's books now. And while he still remains one of my favorite authors, I think that the quality of his writing went downhill. Especially when I finished Sinner. It just didn't seem to have to same zip and bite as a regular Dekker novel does. I mean...now, Thr3e, or Saint...creepy!! I think my favorite one that released last year was Kiss. It was a lot more like Blink, my favorite ever Dekker novel. But even Kiss didn't seem as well-rounded to me as Blink.

And I know there are other authors who do the same. My point I guess is, we're investing time into quantity of work, not quality. When I'm a published author, I hope to write, homeschool my kids (eventually), storm-chase, have plenty of hang-out time, take care of my house, etc, still be able to get a decent amount of sleep, and not have to take injections of caffeine every morning.

This is something I'm adamant about...I'm going to take a couple of years to write a book if I have to. I hope to stay ahead in this, and maybe by the time The Lerem Trilogy is published, I'll have several other books to hand in (if the publishers wants them) or shop around. The point is, I'm not only going to be a writer. That's not going to be my main identifier. I'm also going to be a friend, a wife, a homeschool mother, a daughter, a sister, a child of God.

Yes, God has called me to write. I'm going to. But he's also called me to be many things. I'm going to invest time in all of them. And I encourage you to do the same.

3 responses:

Fopias said...

I commend you, Thea!!! So many people don't understand the value of the things in their life that they tend to push aside. And our culture especially degrades family and home time. I'm glad to know you as a friend who doesn't think that way and is determined, with the Lord's help since no one can do it by themselves, to keep her priorities straight!

Love in Christ,
~Fopias

Heather said...

Thanks, Fopias. I'm gonna need the help and reminders of my friends in keeping my priorities straight, though!

Fopias said...

That's what friends are for! (and to encourage you when you're doing a good job)

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