ABOUT ANNE FRASIER
Anne Frasier (a.k.a. Theresa Weir) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of thirty books. Her memoir, The Orchard, was an Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the October Indie Next List, a B+ featured title in Entertainment Weekly, a One Book One Community Read, Target Book Club Pick, and Books-A-Million Book Club Pick.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSE-COLORED GOGGLES
Writing is all about time.
There are no shortcuts.
I’ve been writing for thirty years (what?), and I still have so much to learn. You never get there, you never reach that place where you can sit back and say this is how it’s done, now I know and I can go forward and do it. The uncertainties are always there. You do this, then you close your eyes and open them again to see how it looks. You rearrange. You toss out, and start over. (But too much tossing out is another form of procrastination. Anything can be fixed.)
Four years. That’s what I think it takes. Four years of writing every day, submitting, getting feedback, revising, rewriting, starting a new project, putting an old one under the bed, pulling it out again, seeing the mistakes you made when you were young and foolish three months ago.
It’s hell. Especially for a lazy person like me.
A bachelor’s degree takes four years. And then you might go on to get your masters and a Ph.D.
Time. You have to invest the time. There are no shortcuts.
“I just lost my job and need to learn how to write a book fast. Where do I begin? I need to start making money in a couple of months.”
Yes, I get emails like this. But I’m not talking about this person.
And yet it is about him, because this is about time. The more time you spend learning the craft of writing, the better your writing will be. The more time you spend writing that book, the better it will be. As simple as that.
I grew up in the world of romance writing. In the eighties and nineties there was a real push by editors, agents, and writers to get books out as quickly as possible. Publishing houses noticed the writers with the biggest readerships were also the writers with the most books published in a year. So it turned into quantity over quality. Some writers could do both, but not many. We were always thinking about the next book before we even finished the current project. We didn’t have the luxury of time.
It took me a while to get myself out of that mindset, and I think a lot of genre writers are still struggling to step back and give themselves permission to make their current project the best it can be. We didn’t grow up like that. We wrote it in a few months and we mailed it in, very often with no feedback from anyone. Maybe take a day off before jumping into the next book, always that need to hurry, hurry, hurry.
Part of it is just age. I can’t write with that kind of intensity and fervor and drive anymore. I want to enjoy writing. I want to savor it. And sometimes I do.