From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Writing Without Eyeglasses…Guest Post by Holly Schindler

On Writing Without Eyeglasses…

I graduated with my master’s degree in the spring of 2001, and decided to nix the idea of a full-time job in order to pursue a writing career—my lifelong dream. This was possible, of course, only because of the incredible—INCREDIBLE—financial support I received from my family. I know—very ROOM OF ONE’S OWN. That support allowed me the freedom to spend my time drafting enough manuscripts to form a pile that stretches from the floor to the ceiling in my office! A mere (ahem) seven and a half years after grad school, I snagged my first publishing deal…A BLUE SO DARK, my debut novel, was released in May 2010.

…After all that time spent writing project after project, if I could give writers just one piece of drafting advice? Take off your glasses.

Yup, take ‘em off completely…

I drafted the entirety of A BLUE SO DARK in late 2006…only took about two months. The reason I was able to write at such an incredible pace was because I took my glasses off as I wrote—I’m so nearsighted, the print COMPLETELY disappeared from my screen. The beautiful part was, if I couldn’t SEE what I’d just written, I couldn’t second-guess it. So my internal editor was silenced. Completely. And it really didn’t take any effort to silence her. She was just…gone.

Sure, the book was revised globally about four different times in the next two years. But revising for me is always far easier than drafting. I’d much prefer to be reworking something that’s already down in draft form than trying to come up with something from scratch.

…And one thing I’ve heard repeatedly from bloggers about BLUE is that it’s honest… But I think the reason I GOT that honesty is because of the blind first draft. That stark truthfulness was there from the get-go.

So, all you drafters out there (even those of you currently in the midst of NaNoWriMo), put those glasses down—or turn off or cover your screen…Remove the temptation to read that last sentence. Not only will your internal editor fade away, but you’ll actually forget about the potential audience, too…It’ll just be you and your words flowing as naturally as the thoughts in your own head…Which will make YOUR book brutally honest, and your main character seem flesh-and-blood real!

--Holly Schindler

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