Monday, December 8, 2008

Quality or Quantity?

It's something I'm often faced with when writing. Do I try to get my thousand words in while the kids are napping? Or do I write the best I can, tightening my prose before I move on?

Whenever I mutter about getting my word count done, lovely Hubby points out that I should worry about the quality not the quantity. Then my jaw about snaps off because I'm gritting my teeth so hard.

I believe it was Nora Roberts who said thefamous quote about being able to fix a bad page but not a blank page. That advice went straight to my writing soul.

So now I live for my word count. And since I don't plot much, I know there are tons of revisions ahead. But as long as I finish I'm happy.

How about you? What's your philosophy and does it work for you?

16 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I have a difficult time at turning my internal editor off. So, yes, I'm constantly editing my words which slows the writing process greatly.

But, I agree, there is something to be said for just letting the words flow, regardless of how badly that may be. I find those times to be the most emotionally fulfilling writing experiences. But serious editing ultimately follows. Sigh.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have trouble turning the internal editor off too. But I did a Fast Draft challenge once for a week or so, and what I had needed to be tinkered with, but it wasn't half bad.

PS YOu can get snow here:
http://www.bloggerbuster.com/2008/12/simple-snow-effect-widget-for-blogger.html

Jessica said...

HI Eileen,
Well, I'm not completely a free writer. :-) I do edit a few pages before moving onto others, but once I start writing I may change things but don't usually think deeply about plot or GMC. LOL

Jessica said...

Hey Jennifer,
Thanks for the link!

Inspire said...

Hi Jessica,

I also have a hard time turning my internal editor off. Too many times, it slows my writing down.

I don't worry about how many words I get down on a page. My desire is to get through a scene, no matter how many words, 100 or 1000. I agree with your husband about quality writing.

One thing that works for me, is rapid writing. It turns the internal editor off, and it helps to get the flow of writing moving at a quick pace. What you do is have a notebook or a binder with looseleaf paper in it where you write by hand. Have a favorite pen and a favorite place to quietly write. Keep putting things down and resist the urge to go back and read or edit.

haleigh said...

I tend to just write, and worry about fixing it later. Which is probably why I cranked out a manuscript in two months, and then spent four months revising it. I think I'm going to try plotting next time, and see if that keeps me from having to rewrite the entire thing.

Jessica said...

Rita,
That's a really good idea. Thanks for stopping by. I think I was at your blog when you were at mine. Pretty funny. :-)

Jessica said...

Haleigh,
I bet you'd make a great plotter. But still, two months? That's amazing. And you know what? It takes me almost six to get a rough draft. So to have a finished product in six months is pretty amazing!

Sarah said...

I constantly find myself writing a few sentences, re-reading it five times, tightening it here and there, and then realizing an hour has passed and I'm still working on the same paragraph. The worst part is that when I'm finally satisfied, the paragraph probably ends up reading how I originally wrote it anyway.

Sigh...I'm trying to quit doing that.

anita said...

Husbands. They are SO well meaning. Teehee.


I’m a little of both. Quantity and Quality. That’s probably because I do plot and have to make sure things fall a certain way. I don’t really have a routine either. I just write and revise constantly as I go along.

I guess it’s just like anything else in writing. We each have our own way of doing things that work for us. As long as we end up with a completed book at the end, it’s all good. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I'm editing right now. Well, I should say that's what I should be doing. Life is getting in the way at the moment.

Wow, I'm so impressed with your progress - 79% done! BTW, love the new pic.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

Sarah,
Sometimes I do the same thing. I definitely have an internal editor, but even when I give into him, I still feel like I need to get my thousand words in.
I usually do revise the previous page or two, just to get back into the mood of the story. :-)
How is your guy doing?

Jessica said...

I agree, Anita. Once the thing's finished, there's a huge sense of completion and relief. At least for me. :-)

Jessica said...

Thanks Susan! I like this picture and was so bummed when I saw that it has the light spot. I need one of me but I rarely wear alot of makeup, so I gotta get hubby to take one Sunday.
And yes, I need makeup. I just have that kind of face. :-)
Thanks for stopping by.
I love my word counter. It makes me feel so much more successful when I can see the percentage.

Debby Mayne said...

Everyone's process is different, and it can change. I started out a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I learned that I stray from the goal of the characters, and my finished manuscripts are way too long. And I used to set a lofty goal for myself of 20 pages per day. Not anymore. I have a minimum of 5 pages, and I almost always go over, but I don't have to.

As for quality vs. quantity, I think quality is what we all strive for. But quantity is good, too, if you want to make a living as a writer.

Jessica said...

Hey Debby, that's true about quantity helping career-wise.
Wow, 20 pages a day? Whew.
I've been flopping around the idea of plotting too, even though it makes my hair stand on end.