CHANGING AS A WRITER

KALI BY GABOR SOMOSKOI FEATURING ZSOFI FENYVESI

When you get to be a certain-aged adult (which is basically anything over 25), you get this idea in your head that you’re the you you’re always going to be. It’s the idea that growing is for kids and once your body has settled on a shoe size, that’s that. You’re you.
 
I had this idea about my writing after I wrote my first novel. I drafted that sucker in a month. I felt pretty pleased with myself.
 
“That’s the kind of writer I am,” I told myself. “I don’t outline. I write fast. I love drafting. And I’m pretty sure revising is of the devil.”
 
I held onto that version of writer me. I am a pantster, a fast drafter, and a despiser of all things revision.
 
But by the time I was ready to write the next book, I was … broken. I couldn’t start it.I became very shouty at myself. The Man sent me these really worried looks, then he put on his noise-cancelling headphones and mumbled something about writers.
 
“I DON’T OUTLINE!!” I said it over and over again. Except, maybe I do. Because for that second book, I made an outline. And then I could write.
 
So that was it. I had been mistaken after the first book.
 
“That’s the kind of writer I am,” I told myself. “I outline. I write fast. I love drafting. And I’m pretty sure revising is of the devil.”
 
I held onto that version of writer me. I am a plotter, a fast drafter, and a despiser of all things revision.
 
But by the time I was ready to write the next book, Gray Wolf Island, I was … broken again. Only this time it was worse. I outlined. I started it. And I was slow.
 
No, that’s a lie. I was SLOW.
 
“I AM A FAST WRITER!!!” I said it over and over again. I whined about it to friends who were very kind with my fragile writer brain.
 
No matter what I tried, I stayed broken. I wrote the entire book slowly. Writing each page was like pushing blood up through my pores. It was a disgusting and scary process for someone who still considered herself a fast writer who loved drafting.
 
When it came time to revise, I steeled myself for the horror.
 
It wasn’t there.
 
The revision thing? Way easy.
 
I had no idea who I was anymore, because the Writer Tracey I knew despised the whole ordeal, but this me? This me was tossing around words like “fun.”
 
Last week, I turned in a round of edits on Gray Wolf Island and the process was—yes, I’m going to say it again—fun. Unlike drafting my new WIP. Which brings me to a revelation I had: I’ve changed.
 
I’m not the type of writer I was when I first started. Drafting is full of doubts and fears, while revision is a process I love. And that’s okay.
 
I think we stuff ourselves into boxes, partially because so many writing articles force us into them: Are you a plotter or pantster? Do you write fast or slow? Do you revise as you go or do you get it all on the page first?
 
It’s taken me a long time to realize it’s okay to change. It’s okay to vary your process from year to year or book to book. We’re not expected to stay the same version of us from the cusp of adulthood into eternity.
 
Kind of freeing, isn’t it?
 
 

process, Uncategorized, writing