The easy option never is

I’m not sure when I first worked out that the easy option is never easy. It might be when I realised that putting small children in front of the TV for too long led to bored kids who didn’t want to watch TV at all, and it was easier to be active and provide proper activities for them. It might even have been when at school I spent more time dodging teachers than I would have spent actually doing their homework.

When I play my game, and I decide that I’m going to rush through and not do things properly, that’s when things go wrong. Slowing down and taking the time to do it properly is always far more productive than rushing and having a disaster on my hands that then takes time to rescue.

When I was teaching, I realised that the very point at which I started thinking it would be better to skip something that was too hard for the students was the point where I needed to slow down and start the teaching.

I’m discovering this with my writing as well. Carefully thought out details will do much more than rushing through and making it up on the spot. It might take longer to plan, but overall the time will be spent more efficiently.

My nanowrimo novel is doing well. I’ve just passed the halfway mark, and I have a full day write-in planned for next weekend, which should get me a lot further through. The trouble is, I’d planned out milestones to hit, and by the halfway mark I’ve hit 11 of the 12, which leaves me wandering in the wilderness and wondering what happens next. Do I rush to the end? Do I make up more to come? Do I pad out what I’ve already got? I know that what I’ve got needs to be built up more, but do I do it at the writing stage or editing stage?

One thing I’d like to do is have the world much more real to me. I’ve noticed before that the more real something is to me, the better I write about it, and one of my weaknesses is skipping details and reality. Generally, I have a readable draft so far, which tells a story. The quality of the storytelling can come later. But I’m not sure whether I’m two thirds of the way through the narrative or one third, or what I’m going to put in from now on.

Serious thinking time is required. And that’s not the easy option – but it’s definitely the best.

 

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