A couple of weeks ago, I was analyzing my writing habits, haha, and came to the conclusion that I have a lot of strange habits.
I noticed, for example, and quite easily so, that I have a tendency to run away from projects a lot. And I honestly have no idea why I do this other than a general “I just don’t want to.” It’s not because the start of a book is daunting, because sure, it is, but I do this all the time. Regardless, I did wonder for a bit if there was something specific in my writing past that causes me to run away from stuff so much.
The thing is…it’s actually just a
bad habit. In my early writing life, I didn’t know I was supposed to edit anything, because I was the only writer I knew. And the one time I knew another writer before high school, we hated each other, so of course we weren’t going to chat about it. We did compliment each other’s stories though one time, and that still amazes me.
The next writer I knew was someone I didn’t want to talk about writing with because she was so negative all of the time. She had a really hard time finishing things, and I didn’t, and she was super encouraging at first, but then she got kind of pissy, so to keep the peace, I never told her when I finished anything and would just complain with her, and well…that benefited no one.
But the foundation of my writing habits, my style, my tastes, my tendencies, were formed at a time when I thought editing was proofreading, because that’s what we did in class. So, I started proofreading my work, and I thought that was sufficient. (haha) Back then, when I wrote a story and realized it sucked, I just moved on to the next one, hoping that one would be better, which explains why I’m so hard myself all the time and want every new story to top the one before it or I feel like I’m failing. (I’m working on this.) By that point, I was so used to putting more work into the next project, that the thought of picking something apart and rewriting it seemed like actual crazy-making.
In my eyes, if my story needed rewriting, I had failed. The project was a failure. And I would just have to do better next time.
It’s why I struggle so much with certain projects. I’m not used to rewriting things from scratch, so when I do, it’s so stressful, I give up. With my current project, the first time I wrote this, I quit about halfway through, because I was going to have to start over from scratch anyway because I was wrecking everywhere, and everything sucked. The next time I tried to write it, I stressed myself out over minor details I could have made up later. Like, I really didn’t need to know ahead of time. The third time, I intimidated myself because I had “failed” two times already. Like, I literally only wrote two sentences and gave up. For several months. Several times.
Why don’t I quit now? Honestly, this is the only story that calms me down and stops the crazy making. That’s worth something to me. Loud stories are not ready. The quiet ones are. They don’t have to be obnoxious, because they don’t have anything to prove. 😀
Anyway, looking back at my earlier writing years, I can see why I have these weird and somewhat insane writing habits. At this point, some things aren’t going to change all that much. Like, I’m not going to start using notecards or a chalkboard or a spreadsheet to help me edit. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing – editing as I go – because it works for me and I’m used to it, and if I have to edit like that I’m going to riot. But I do want to stop dropping stories I’m excited about just because I’m having confidence issues again. ^_^