I’m one of those people that makes everything a lot more difficult than it has to be.

Not sure why, but despite my minimalist lifestyle and tendencies, I’m definitely missing the simplify gene . It could be the anxiety, or the fact that my patience might as well be a damn creature of myth.

Whatever the reason, I’ve got to combat it. One of the first lesson’s in Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course teaches you that every problem presents an opportunity, so long as you’re willing to pay attention and think it through.

Yesterday, when I was so totally not procrastinating at work by looking for inspiration for a blog post (because I am a goddamn professional thank you very much), I came across an e-mail that had been gathering cob webs in my inbox for the past few weeks. It was a blog post from a site I’d subscribed to, Write To Done. Though always informative, their articles are often hit-or-miss for me because they cater more towards freelance writers than writers of fiction. (Not that that should ever dissuade you. I’ve “tiefed” writing advice from the most unlikely of places, including but not limited to art books. You can apply almost anything to writing if you look hard enough.) This post hooked me right from the title, How To Write Smart, Not Fast

I am not and probably never will be a “fast writer”.

The very thought of Fast Draft pushes me head-first into a panic attack. I’ve tried lots of different ways to boost my writing speed, but most of the time I just end up getting in my own way. And there’s a very good reason for that, almost no one else’s method takes into account what your own strengths and weaknesses are.

Now, I’m not telling you not to take advice from other writers. You absolutely should. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust their methods to better suit your needs. Because everyone’s mileage varies.Personally, I’m just really bad at adjusting other people’s methods. I feel like I’m violating their process.

In case you were concerned, yes, I’m completely aware of how illogical that sounds.

Alas, How To Write Smart, Not Fast has come to my rescue with some handy-dandy advice about coming up with your own system tailored to your own personal strengths and weaknesses. I will be test-driving this method for the next few weeks, but I’ve already reaped a huge benefit.

In making a list of my strengths and weaknesses, I noticed I’m really good at writing in an engaging and emotional head space. The emotional risks come easy to me, it’s all that plotty stuff that kicks my ass.

So for my last weakness I put down “showing character through plot…sometimes I feel my plot dictates one thing but the character dictates another and so they end up contradicting eachoth-”

And then it hit me. Like a piano dropped from twenty stories high.

Why, in the name of all that’s blood and gore-ie, was I not showing that in the narrative? That. That right there is the heart of great conflict. But I, dumb-ass that I can be, had completely missed the point.

Don’t get me wrong, I love figuring stuff out. I just hate how stupid it makes me feel for not catching on sooner.

P.S. The blog title is actually a chess move. It means “I adjust”


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