Thursday, March 19, 2015

Writerly Bad Habits

My cuticles are a mess. My thumbs, in particular, are a bit scarred from the bad habit that I have of picking at the skin with my other fingernails. It's the way I deal with anxiety, a purely unconscious habit that I always tell myself I'm going to stop, but I haven't yet.

But this post isn't about those kinds of bad habits. This post is about something even better (or worse?): Writerly Bad Habits.

Just like we all have different writing processes, writing strengths, and writing weaknesses, we also all have different writerly bad habits. These are things that we might be conscious about or not, but they always show up (most likely in the first drafts of novels, or else if it's more of a hitch in the process, it's something that might slow you down).

The worst part is: your concerned friends in the writing community (and your CPs) tell you that it's a bad idea (in case you run it by them, first), and then you reason with both yourself and them in an effort to not feel bad about doing it.

Case-in-point: my worst writerly bad habit happens during revisions and rewrites. I'll get about 10-20k (sometimes more) into a revision of a WIP, then decide that something isn't working and that it needs to be fixed right this second...and then I start over. From the beginning.

I've done it about three or four times this year, alone. On a single project. Ask Hannah Hunt. She knows. And she's perfect and deals with me so often it's not even funny.

So that's my writerly bad habit. I simply cannot keep writing to the end if I think that a detail (or many) are so wrong in the beginning that it's leading my entire novel astray. Which means I start over a lot (I'm pretty sure I have about eight different versions of the first 20 k of my WIP. And only three full drafts).

I also have another one, and it has to do with being a lazy plot-filler person. But the whole restarting thing is my biggest one.

You've probably guessed it, but here I go: what's your writerly bad habit?

Tweet It:

Admit it: you've got a #writerlybadhabit. Blogger @Rae_Slater shares hers, and invites you to do the same (Click to Tweet)


  1. Damn Girl, stop doing that. You're writing too soon. You need to think it through in the head all the way to the end, then write. Either that of do like Briana and let the characters tell you the story, which means you've got to let them grow and develop in your mind before you put ink to paper.

    On the cuticle business, you're right that it's a manifestation of your anxiety. Fix the root cause of the anxiety, and you'll find, one day, that you don't mess with your cuticles anymore. Come to think of it, you might apply the same reasoning to the rewriting 8 times.

    I do love the honesty in the piece :)

    1. I admit it's an awful practice, and it's one that I'm cracking down on myself for. But at the same time, it's simply my writing process. Every process is flawed, and I just consider this to be one of mine. I'd rather get my ideas out and then have to fix the holes later than to spend time over-thinking the plot and characters before I've had a chance to get to know them :)

      Cuticles: I try to remember to at least put band-aids on them at night. This is a bad habit can swear to you I'm getting better at, though; they're slooooowly healing XD

      And thanks, Chris. You're always so supportive, and I don't think I show my appreciation for it enough. You rock <3

    2. I rock? Ohhhh, you! I'm like a grandpa on the porch in my rocking chair you mean? Iced-tea in hand, telling tall tales under the single 60 watt light bulb hanging from the ceiling...