Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do You Write Like You Make Decisions?

I've been wondering lately if a writer writes the way the writer makes decisions.

That isn't the best sentence I've written all week, but stay with me for a moment. I make decisions in life and in my work on a regular basis. Most of us do. My decision modus operandi would seem fast to some, but I am just able to consider all the possibilities, do a risk analysis, and come to a conclusion in rapid sequence. Lives depend on my ability to do this. Really. I'm a Nurse. I was an ER Nurse for many years. I'm comfortable with the way I make decisions, it works well for me.

I've discovered a hovering link between this and the way I write fiction. I edit as I go, but not obsessively. I go with my gut from time to time and am surprised at the results. My first drafts take a bit of thought first, then writing beginning to end (short stories, not novels), then one or two re-writes after I've put it away for a day or two. That's it.

Now some writers will say they free write, then edit.
Some say they rewrite something fifty times.
Me - I'm ready to barf after reading it for the sixth time, so I think I would just give up if it wasn't good enough by that go around.

My best stuff has come in about twenty minutes. One or two passes at changing a sentence or two and I'm done. I'm not sure if this will be enough for the publishing world. We'll see. I may have to learn to revisit things again and again. But I don't do anything else that way. I would like to find out that hard, accurate, good work will come out the first time. It's how I do my other work. I don't have to try ten times to get an IV. I usually get it on the first, maybe the second try. I'm good at it.

Language can be a bit tricky. As separate skills, grammar, punctuation, spelling, they are concepts you can be good at. Writing fiction will take much longer than nursing to be good at. How many people would have thought THAT was true. I certainly didn't.

Judging by a few sentences in this post, I have a long way to go before I can "just write" and have it be publishable caliber. But, it only took me ten minutes to write this. That can't be all bad.

So, yes, I think I write the way I make decisions. And that is a good thing.

Jo Taylor

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