Monday, April 20, 2015

Get It Done or Get It Right?

In college, I was one of those weird architecture students who would stay up til 4 in the morning at
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the studio, grab some breakfast at IHOP, take a quick two hour nap at my apartment, then get back up to the studio to present my baby--a project slaved over until the VERY. LAST. MINUTE.

Yep, I like to think that my architecture degree is good for something now--creating in me a work ethic of at least optimizing the wee morning hours for productivity. Eh.

Guess it helped when I was a new mother and those late night feedings.

Oh, and  it helps now, as I write this blog post at the VERY.LAST.MINUTE before it's to be published.

But in all seriousness, I have realized that my degree earned some decade and a half ago, might not be used as it was intended, but in hindsight, I've learned from it as I try and apply it now as a writer. It's not in a way that I would expect. Because I look back on those days and what I did WRONG is what I need to remember NOW to get my writing...RIGHT... 

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In that competitive studio atmosphere, it was always pretty exciting to come up with ideas and run with them. Yeah, think Cutthroat Kitchen with t-squares and vellum rolls. My classmates would still be brainstorming with chicken scratch and thoughtful conversation, while I'd whip up a first draft master plan within a day of the assignment. I'd get my final materials at Hobby Lobby, plop down at my desk, and start to work while my classmates were just nailing down their concepts.

You may wonder why I was working at the very last second before the project was due as I stated at first? 

It's the exact same reason I feel like many of my stories fall short. I crank out the story before I even let it mature. I pluck those first ideas from my brain and don't question the "insteads", "what ifs", "better thans", and "howevers".

Back then, I was so focused on getting the project complete, I didn't allow myself to grow the project along the way. So those last seconds of work were my frantic band-aiding the presentation to force maturation of a pre-mature idea. And many of my classmates had gone to that next level...even if it took them longer to get there. 

Finally, nine years later, my anxiety to crank the story out is shoved aside by GET IT RIGHT! And my definition of RIGHT in writing is: fully grown in style, depth, and especially intrigue where the only question asked is, "How can we even consider passing this up?"
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I never thought I would put the brakes on getting a project submitted before. But it doesn't seem so crazy now. Because, what's the point on whipping something up and getting it out there, when there are "insteads", "what ifs", and "better thans" begging to be asked?

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Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets, selling Jamberry, and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at www.facebook.com/dicken.angie and her personal blog at angiedicken.blogspot.com 


3 comments:

Julia M. Reffner said...

I always thrived on those last minute deadlines in college I must admit, but I'm learning like you as an adult it doesn't lead to more mature writing for me.

Robin Mason said...

my debut novel, Tessa, I just wrote. no timeframe in mind, no deadline. as December 2013 cruised into January 2014, I knew I was near the end and set a goal [gasp!!] to finish by end of the month - which I did with 2 days to spare. she was released for Kindle a month later. now, writing the sequel, I'm chomping at the bit to "get done" and I see where I'm compromising in my writing - I also see LOTS of edtis - LOL - I have pushed my intended release from June to July [I'm Indie] because I'd rather do it right than quick!
ps - my degree is in Interior Design!! ;)

Angie said...

Julia, I don't know how I stayed up so late in college! It's not even midnight and I am straining to stay awake! I soooo love(d) being a night owl. Miss it!

Robin, It's always good to get it done too, that's for sure...as long as you do leave yourself room for tweaking! It's awesome that you are able to be such a self-motivator as well as take your time to get it right! Awesome for the designer-degrees! ;) Thanks for commenting!