From Imagination To Publication

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Writing Superpowers

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:
What are your writing and publishing superpowers? (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) -- and what's your kryptonite?
The neat-freak in me is the source of my writing superpower. I guess it’s no surprise I have a knack for proof-reading and polishing my manuscript. I’m not saying my manuscripts are perfect when I turn them in, but I like to think they are cleaner than most. In reality, you can’t catch everything, but I like to try. (Now watch me post this with a million errors…)

I wish my superpower was something different….something a little more useful. In my writer fantasy world, I would be able to sit down at the computer and type chapter after chapter of genius plot without stopping to blink. My writing doesn’t just pour out of me like that. It never has. When it does, it’s rare. That’s not for lack of ideas, but more a symptom of my perfectionism that won’t let me move past a scene that hasn’t been molded and groomed. Sometimes I look at books like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows or Breaking Dawn and think, How did they write such a long book? Didn’t it take them forever?

Thankfully National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has helped me to overcome the nit-pickiness that is my kryptonite. The solution…just write for the sake of writing. Because you have a goal. Because you need to get it out. Because you need to move on.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo…

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

See what I mean…
My hope is to write on the fly every time I write. So far, it’s working.

What are your writing superpowers and what's your kryptonite?


  1. Oh, nitpickiness, I know you well. This is a big problem for me too. I can't seem to move past a scene until I get it rounded out right. Not the sentence structure as much as details of action, but I can fuss over sentence structure too. Hey! At least you make a kicking proof-reader - which might mean editor in the future!

  2. This one gets me more in later drafts. First draft I give myself permission to write horrendously. Second draft I give myself permission to write hideously. Third draft I give myself permission to write horribly. Four draft I have no such permissions and it takes foreverrrrrr....

  3. I am the queen of nitpicky. It really makes moving forward difficult because I'm always combing through what I've already written looking for mistakes and just fine tuning. I suppose that helps in the later revisions, but it's still a little bit of a problem.

    P.S. The security word I had to type in for this comment was 'mating'. Hilarious!

  4. Lol, I think I'm just the opposite of you. I can sit and write for hours on end, the plot and everything making so much sense for me and it's a relief to get it on paper. Then comes the revise, when I catch my telly words and of course, all my typos. :)

    And thank you so much for what you said on my blog! Made my day!

  5. I struggle with this every time I sit to write.. I can't just write and not worry.. but I'm trying.

  6. Yes, letting yourself write for the sake of writing--just to get the story OUT before fixing it--is so essential for letting the word count grow :)

    Good luck with nano!

  7. Great post. I'd say my superpower is writing fast and furious. My recent wip was the best so far -- 60,000 words in 10 days. But my kryptonite is a real one... I suffer with queries and synopsis. And I mean SUFFER. I. Just. Can't!

  8. I haven't attempted to do NaNoWriMo and don't know that I ever will. I seem to churn out plenty of material that I have to go back, wade through, and cut,cut,cut on my own. Seems to work best for me to spew a few chapters, then go back and try editing them while I'm forging ahead with more spew.