Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Writers Society: DONE

Hello, HWS members! And visitors, of course. Welcome. You might want to grab a seat close to the dessert table, because those cookies go FAST.

Today you get to hear from me again. I know, not as exciting as all the lovely guests I've had, but hey, can't have cool people all the time. I DO have more awesome guests planned though, so yay!

First, a few matters of business concerning the Crit Partner Classifieds. I will not accept entries after Saturday, February 5th, just so I have enough time to proofread and format the final lists. So if you want to participate, get those ads in! The lists will be up on Monday, so get ready to search. Also, please let me know if you'd like to see this as a more permanent thing. Me and some friends have been playing around with possibly making a website out of this, so that writers can have current lists, etc.

Okay, on to the post!



Oh, how that word seems to elude writers. Are we ever really done with a book? Some people say, "No, not until it's in print and out of your hands." And any writer could tell you even then they could find things to tweak and change.

But I don't like this idea. I never have. It lends to this feeling of inadequacy. At least for me. If I think that all this work I'm doing will never actually result in a "finished" product, then why the crap am I breaking my back over all this?

For me, it's not that a writer's work is never finished. Nope. A writer's work is finished multiple times, and each one is cause for celebration.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I really do like to celebrate every little step. When I finish writing a chapter, I let myself have a break to do something fun before starting the next. When I finish a first draft, I most always take myself out to lunch. When I finish big edits, I, uh, eat more. Hey, I like to eat! Or I buy a new shirt. Or some paints—that was my reward for the last big edit I did. When my book was finally ready for submission, I totally went out to dinner. Etc.

Because at each and every point, I am done. Maybe there is another chapter or draft or phase ahead, but that doesn't take away the fact that you've finished the one you're on. And that is something to be proud of. Something to celebrate.

I'm gonna go eat a cookie now, since I'm done writing this post.


  1. I agree. We should celebrate whenever we can, right? Especially if it involves eating really great food.

    Also, I'd love to see the crit partner thing as a regular feature. That is, if it isn't overwhelmingly too much work for you.

    I think what you do is great! Thanks for being positive about the writing process, while being honest at the same time.

  2. haha, now that I'm "done" with revisions what was I planning to do?

    Eat. :)

  3. I like the idea of rewards all along the way. I need to get back into doing that.

  4. Great topic! I'm terrible at finding rewards since I really should avoid food ones. They are so tempting but not good for trying to lose weight. It is hard to tell when someone is done but I like your approach.

  5. I like the idea of celebrating each "done" moment. And I always like to have an excuse to eat :)

    And I think the crit partner thing would be great as a regular feature, because not everyone is ready right now.

  6. Wow - I never ever feel finished, but this is such a nice way of looking at it. Wrote that scene? Done. Rewrote that same scene? OK, um, done.

  7. You have a great attitude. Love it.

  8. Hey, I say celebrate in style! When I finish something big, I break out the champagne.

  9. I like that idea! So I can go eat a slice of cheese when I'm done writing this comment? lol J/K! I like your attitude though. Every stage, we complete something. Our work can be finished. I do believe that. :)

  10. Can't wait to see the results for the Classifieds!

    And this post reminds me of something a writer friend of mine said once about editing when I mentioned how I wanted things to be perfect (so it could all be finished): There comes a point when you can only change things.

    I thought it was sage advice from someone so young, and I do keep it in mind while editing--which I've been doing for a long time now.

    My way of celebrating--which I've learned to do now, instead of constantly pushing forward--is to take a break. After I finished my latest draft of my story, I forced myself to just forget about it and relax, be a non-writer for a day, and just do other things. It was weird, but an interesting experience.

  11. Yes to this. I just got my first request for a full and I'm planning on taking myself out for Mexican food.

  12. *munch munch* I like the idea of making the classifieds more permanent.

    I wanted to enter, but I'm still worried that it is too soon for a CP.


  13. "A writer's work is finished multiple times, and each one is cause for celebration."

    You're not crazy. I think you're right on the money!

  14. Yes to the classifieds being a regular feature/website. I'm not ready for crit partners now but I probably will be in about 6 months. ☺

  15. When I finished my first draft nearly a week ago, my reward was starting up my blog. Or at least posting the first message, because I kinda cheated on the actual setting up part. I also set up Twitter and Facebook for my writing, so this week's been all about social networking. Now I need to get into the edits, and I'm sure that food will now be a regular reward!

    I think the crit partner website is a great idea. I submitted a request even though I'm not ready right at this moment, because there might be someone else who'll be ready for a first beta read in a month or so.

  16. Yes, we should celebrate. But I've never met a sentence I didn't want to "fix" and it could be the death of me.

  17. make and interesting assertion here...perhaps I need to reward myself when I finish any particular phase of writing, rather than pummel myself for not doing better? What a great idea...hmmmm...

  18. I think a critique partner classifieds blog/website is a great idea (blog = free, websites cost) I'd be more than happy to pub it as well.

    As far as done, I agree with you on the whole lack of being done feeling like inadequacy. Sometimes we fine tune something so much, the story has totally changed, which means the first story was fine, you just needed to get busy on the new idea knocking at your door. (The perfectionist in me begs to differ.)

    I'd like to think there is an end point where you stand back and stare at your bucktoothed scragly haired first child, and just love them for what they represent in your life, imperfections and all.

  19. I can definitely see the temptation to keep revising over and over. But I do believe in making sure to leave something as "done" and taking the time to appreciate and celebrate that.

  20. Natalie,

    I would love to have the crit partner thing happen again. I'm looking for a partner, but not quite ready for one. Knowing that I would have another chance later on, or an on-going list that I could look at as needed . . . that would be wonderful!!

    Thank you so much for doing this!

  21. Your post made me think of writers who say they don't reread their novels once they've been published, because they still end up feeling the urge to revise their work.
    It does feel good to finish a draft. I'm always amazed by the prolific writers who have entire shelves worth of books, since just one book can take so much out of a person. But it's worth it.

  22. Wow - what an inspiring blog. I have only just come accross it and hope you will continue inspiring.
    I run many creative writing lessons at our school and am taking on the responsibility of getting our school newspaper off the ground, so hoping to get lots of tips and ideas from you.
    Looking forward to following your blog!